Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) conserved another 120.5 acres at the end of December 2022 over eight projects across Allegheny County. The recently-protected lands were a combination of market rate purchases, conservation easements and donated properties, and are located in Baldwin, Millvale and Wilkinsburg Boroughs, and Indiana, Moon, Reserve and Shaler Townships. The projects represent a wide array of conservation approaches, including urban agriculture, community gardens, trails, watershed and habitat preservation, and more.
“With development and infrastructure expansion continuing to consume approximately 2,000 acres of green space in the County each year, conserving these lands was a great way to end the year,” ALT President & CEO Chris Beichner said. “From the smallest conserved parcel to the largest, each project will create lasting benefits for each community’s air and water quality, wildlife habitat, biodiversity and recreation and environmental education opportunities. Community support is crucial to the success of our land conservation efforts. These communities rallied behind these projects and built tremendous support to help save these green spaces.”
Among the conserved lands is the Reserve/Shaler project, which generated support from surrounding municipalities, local businesses, students in a Shaler Area High School sustainability class and hundreds of individuals. The project involved a partnership between the previous landowner, a new farmer and ALT. Its permanent protection enables the new farmer to farm another portion of the parcel and adds 45 acres to ALT’s conservation successes in the Girty’s Run Watershed.
Along the Montour Trail sits another newly-conserved land. The 14.75-acre green space builds upon the partnered efforts of ALT, Hollow Oak Land Trust (HOLT) and the Montour Trail Council. Now that it is acquired, ALT will transfer the land to HOLT for permanent protection to add to its 320-acre Montour Woods along the Montour Trail.
As part of ALT & Grow Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Agricultural Land Initiative (TRALI), a 0.14 acre addition to the Garden Dreams site will allow Grow Pittsburgh and gardeners to expand their urban agriculture operations and community outreach at the site. “The addition of this corner lot is key to the next phase of our Garden Dreams plans,” said Grow Pittsburgh Director of Development and Communications Ryan Walsh. “In a more immediate sense, it also allows us to care for this corner lot. We’re excited to transform it from what has been an unsightly mess of weeds and debris to a neighborhood green space.”
Allegheny Land Trust has helped local people save local land since 1993, and now protects more than 3,800 acres of green space. ALT’s mission is to conserve and care for local land for the health and well-being of current and future generations.