Founded in 1991, the Hollow Oak Land Trust is a nonprofit conservation organization that preserves and protects greenspace with an emphasis in the Pittsburgh Airport Corridor. Hollow Oak now owns 14 parcels of undeveloped land totaling over 400 acres in Franklin Park, Kennedy, North Fayette, Coraopolis, and Moon. Additionally, Hollow Oak owns two conservation easements for 90-acre Sahli Nature Park in Chippewa Township, Beaver County.
Hollow Oak conservation areas are protected to maintain and enhance their ecological values. Protected wildlife habitats include mature forest, steep slopes, floodplains, wetlands, and meadows. Our conservation areas are accessible to the public for non-motorized use. They also can be used by schools and other groups for nature study and research.
In its 20-year history, the Hollow Oak Land Trust helped create the Montour Run Watershed Association and secured some of the earliest funding for development of the Montour Trail. Hollow Oak also conceived a network of greenways along Montour Run, from its upper reaches at the border of Washington County to its mouth at the Ohio River in Allegheny County. Toward this vision, we have acquired land and established a variety of conservation areas open to the public, including 260-acre Montour Woods Conservation Area – a joining of three previously separate conservation areas along Montour Run and tributary Meeks Run.
Stacey Vaccaro – President
VP of Quality and Clinical Operations
The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh
Dennis Pfeiffer – Vice President
Assistant VP, PNC Bank
Laurie Plummer – Treasurer
Jennifer Fiscus R.N. – Secretary
Saint Clair Memorial Hospital
Fred Kohun, Ph.D.
University Professor of Computer & Information Systems
Robert Morris University
Executive Director, Independence Conservancy
First Energy Corporation
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
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Sean Brady – Executive Director
Gary Rigdon – Operations Manager
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Hit the Trails with HOLT (700kb PDF)
Flightline (cover story), The Chamber Pittsburgh Airport Area, June 2013
Creating Creating A Greenway Trail System in Moon Township (700kb PDF)
Moon Township Messenger, Summer 2013
Hollow Oak Land Trust Looks to Expand Moon Township Trails Network
Robinson-Moon Patch, April 29, 2013
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Massey Charitable Trust
Pittsburgh International Airport Authority
Felician Sisters of PA
Neville Aggregates Company
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Land Use Policy
Hollow Oak Land Trust properties are managed as conservation areas, where all plants and animals found there are protected unless specific written approval is received in advance from the organization. Management plans allow low-impact recreational uses such as hiking, biking and cross-country skiing, but not activities that could cause significant degradation, such as motorized vehicle use. One of our key goals is to provide public access to year-round recreational enjoyment and use by people of all ages, with minimum negative impact. Those on the property are asked to stay on the extensive system of trails rather than impacting undisturbed areas.
Those visiting Hollow Oak properties should be aware that these are natural areas, with all the inherent dangers of ticks, snakes, poison ivy, steep slopes, and other hazards commonly found in western Allegheny County. Hollow Oak Land Trust assumes no responsibility for any accident or illness that may result from a visit by any individual or group to our properties.
Land Management Policy
Hollow Oak Land Trust actively seeks to protect greenspace in the Pittsburgh International Airport corridor. Protection may be achieved through acquisition (purchase or donation) of title, conservation easements, or other forms of agreement with the property owner.
A property owned by Hollow Oak is designated a "conservation area," reflecting the organization's directives:
"To protect land from any form of alteration by man other than that required to render it accessible to study and enjoyment by the public or to the control of wildlife, both flora and fauna, from its own destruction," and
"To engage in and to promote the study by the general public of our natural resources and wildlife of all types and species and, thereby, to encourage deep and abiding respect for and appreciation of our environment in all its many manifestations by all of the people."
The properties owned by HOLT are managed as conservation areas:
- All plants, animals, and natural features found there are protected and will not be disturbed or removed except in the case of (4), below, or by a specific and case-by-case determination by the Board.
- Changes made to the nature of the property will be in the direction of a return to its natural condition, except where maintenance of man-made features is determined to bebeneficial by the organization.
- Low-impact recreational use may be made of the property, but not activities that could cause significant degradation, such as motorized vehicles.
- Acceptable exceptional uses such as scientific studies, visits by school classes studying nature, and controlled hunting may be allowed with the written advance permission. This written permission must specifically state if any change to the existing and natural state of the property or removal of animals or plants, or their parts, will be allowed.
All conservation easements and other forms of management agreements must be approved in advance by the Board of Directors prior to acceptance of management of a property by HOLT. Management of properties acquired through conservation easements or other forms of agreements will be determined by the specific conditions defined by the owner in those easements or agreements, excepting that, in all cases in which such easement or agreement does not specifically impose a conflicting management action, the management policy stated herein will apply. HOLT assumes no responsibility for any accident or illness that may result from a visit by any individual to the area.
Hunting for deer only is allowed by written permit on Hollow Oak Land Trust properties. This decision is consistent with the opinions of most ecologists and biologists that recognize that the deer population in Allegheny County, and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, has become so great that deer are destroying the forest ecosystem in their search for food. Deer eat small trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and other vegetation, removing habitat and food needed by other species to survive. This consequence is not consistent with HOLT's mission to protect wildlife "of all types and species."
Hunting practices always must be consistent with applicable local, regional, and state laws. Tree stands are permitted if coverings are used to protect the trees being used. Climbing tree stands are not permitted.
When given permission, hunters are asked to protect other wildlife and vegetation and to report any problems they may see when visiting the conservation area.
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