Greenways & Economic Development
The Hollow Oak Land Trust is developing a new model for land conservation that builds on Pittsburgh's strengths, both geographic and cultural. In recent years, the region has reawakened to its wealth of natural amenities, embracing our parks and waterways and placing greater value on greenspace. Rails-to-trails and riverfront trails now serve as Pittsburgh's showcase "front yard" and provide a direct connection to the nation s capital. Participation in outdoor recreation is at an all-time high and community demands for new trails have become a perennial top priority.
Hollow Oak Land Trust has teamed up with Moon Township to develop a network of greenways connecting municipal parks, conservation areas and trails. Greenways serve a dual purpose as both wildlife corridors and trail connectors among greenspace destinations. Hollow Oak would like to replicate this approach with other municipalities throughout the airport corridor.
Montour Woods Greenway
Working with Moon Township and local landowners, Hollow Oak seeks to establish a 10-mile trail loop linking three local natural amenities: 300-acre Moon Township Park, 46-mile Montour Trail, and Hollow Oak Land Trust's 260-acre Montour Woods Conservation Area. The loop will lead from Moon Park down the wooded stream valley of Meeks Run (below Hassam Road) to the Montour Trail, then continue up the Montour Trail about three miles to Trout Run and follow that wooded stream valley (below Hookstown Grade Road) up to the public Moon Golf Club, where it will reconnect to Moon Park via property owned by Pittsburgh International Airport. As a bonus to this trail loop, Hollow Oak hopes to establish a new conservation area along Trout Run as a nature-based destination. View larger map for more detail.
Benefits of Greenways
Not only will Hollow Oak's project bring access to nature closer to where people live and work, it will improve air and water quality, protect wildlife habitat, and also boost the local economy. Based on a 2010 study (8.3mb PDF) by Carnegie Mellon University and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, this greenway project can increase property values within 2,000 feet by as much as $40,000 and save municipalities tens of thousands of dollars in stormwater treatment. And while land conservation is paid for once, the cost of land development never ends. Trees and native plants absorb rainwater and reproduce naturally, rather than requiring expensive infrastructure maintenance. It's nice to let Mother Nature mop up after her own storms!
In the suburban environment, family schedules are tight with precious little free time for unstructured recreation. Busy schedules and an overabundance of electronic entertainment are disconnecting children from the outdoors. This new reality of passive screen-watching has cut kids off from interaction with nature, interaction which is vital to healthy childhood development. "Nature Deficit Disorder" describes this phenomenon in Richard Louv's groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods.
Having local nature reserves with trails for hiking and biking is a luxury that, thanks to organizations such as the Hollow Oak Land Trust, is free to everyone. Greenways provide great opportunities close to home for exercise, refreshment and relaxation in nature. They also boost the benefits of existing parks by effectively growing them through connections to other amenities. The public-private partnership of Moon Township and Hollow Oak Land Trust provides a best-of-breed approach to preserving greenspace, minimizing municipal expense and stimulating economic development. Hollow Oak currently protects land in six townships and invites collaboration with additional municipalities to establish more conservation areas and greenways throughout the rapidly developing Airport corridor.
Tax Relief for Landowners
Learn how partnering with HOLT can provide additional benefits benefits to landholders.
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Volunteer Land Stewards
The Land Stewardship program provide opportunities for volunteers to help in conservation:
- Habitat Improvement
- Invasive Species Removal
- Water Quality Monitoring
- Trail Development and Maintenance
- and more
Email about Volunteer Opportunities
Sustainable Trail Team
Weekly Trail Maintenance
Hassam Road Parking Lot, 5:30 - 7:30pm
Hollow Oak volunteers are meeting every Wednesday evening through June at our Hassam Road parking area (just uphill from Montour Trail). With staff support and guidance, volunteers are developing a sustainable trail system for hiking and biking in the 260-acre tract of Montour Woods, Meeks Run and Frank Santucci Conservation Areas. Activities include pruning vegetation, digging erosion mitigation features, raking debris and trash removal. Work gloves and water provided, refreshments served afterward. Volunteers are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 417-5825.
Learn about programs for Corporate Volunteers.
Learn about access to HOLT lands for Deer Hunters.
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