Annual Walkatop urban hike benefits suicide prevention
September 12, 2017
Dr. Eva Simms will guide hikers September 17 at this year’s Walkatop. Now in its third year, the Walkatop urban hiking adventure through Emerald View Park in Mount Washington is building on the success of its past two events aimed at suicide prevention.
Dr. Simms who holds an endowed Chair in Psychology at Duquesne University, is also an expert in the intersection of community and urban nature spaces, and Emerald View Park. As a Mt. Washington resident, she was a researcher instrumental in mapping the trails of the urban greensward. She has also worked with The Hill District, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh on natural place research.
“Dr. Simms will bring a whole new level of experience for hikers,” Tom Brown of the foundation said. “She knows the history from the original Native American trails through the Coal Hill era, up to the present and the beautiful park we have today.”
The information-packed tour will start at 9 a.m. and will take in the 2.3-mile trail and the 5-mile trail.
Self-guided hikers are welcome to venture through Walkatop’s six routes, including a challenging 14-mile Great Trail, from 8 a.m. to noon on Sept. 17. Nearly 300 hikers explored the scenic Emerald View Park at last year’s Walkatop event.
This breathtaking green space created in 2005 wraps around Mount Washington from Grandview Park near Arlington to Skookum Field in Duquesne Heights and back around to Mount Washington Park near Grace Street.
“The Walkatop event was a great relaxed hike and the views were spectacular,” said Rita Ciccariello, a Carnegie Mellon University employee who hiked Walkatop in 2016. “All of the volunteers were very nice and helpful with giving directions along the path. I definitely want to do it again!”
Proceeds from this year’s event will provide continued support for UPMC Mercy’s program Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) as well as funding for a new suicide prevention program at Brashear High School.
The Walkatop event is a fundraiser benefiting The Thomas Brown Alton Foundation, which is dedicated to suicide prevention by helping those in need toward improved mental health. Grants from the foundation support staff training at UPMC Mercy in the internationally recognized ASIST program.
UPMC Mercy, the event’s presenting sponsor, will have staff on site at the event.
Advance registration is $20 through Sept. 16; and admission on Sept. 17 is $25 at check-in. Children age 10 and under are free. Check-in site is at the parking lot on Grandview Avenue across from the Duquesne Incline.
Advance tickets are available online at http://bit.ly/2wQ3tax.