Spring into Stewardship: Pittsburgh Residents Pitch In on Opening Day

Posted 03/27/15 by Greta Zukauskaite in America's Trails, Building Trails

Photo courtesy Friends of the Riverfront

On March 28, 2015—people around the nation will be getting out to celebrate their favorite pathways and kick off spring in honor of RTC’s third annual Opening Day for Trails. Visit our Opening Day website, and make your official pledge to hit a trail on March 28.

Nothing signifies a fresh start to spring like a little bit of spring cleaning! This year on Opening Day for Trails, Friends of the Riverfront and its volunteers are welcoming spring by engaging the community through stewardship events on Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

Most of the trail’s segments run along the banks of one of Pittsburgh’s most famous geographic features: the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers. In fact, it is the meeting of these rivers that made Pittsburgh a pivotal commercial and transportation center, beginning in the 1700s. The city has transformed from a mining town to a modern city known for its parks, gardens and, of course, trails along the rivers.

On the South Side Trail in Pittsburgh | Photo courtesy Friends of the Riverfront

Today, people of all ages and physical abilities use the trails year-round to exercise, meet up with friends and loved ones and simply enjoy the outdoors. Those who enjoy the trail and its variety of uses understand the importance of maintaining and monitoring its upkeep.

It is no surprise, then, that an organization like Friends of the Riverfront is leading the activities for Opening Day on March 28. This organization was instrumental in building and maintaining the 24-mile-long system through engagement with the community, regional government and a vast volunteer base. It is now this core group that protects and preserves the trails throughout the year for everyone to enjoy.

Opening Day in Pittsburgh will kick off with a two-hour clean-up and native species tree planting along a breathtaking section of trail in the South Side. Volunteers, including PENNDOT engineers, will join trail enthusiasts for a few hours of work, followed by a guided bike tour at noon. The events will wrap up with complimentary pizza in the afternoon. 

“This day has a significant meaning and purpose,” says Jeffrey McCauley, the stewardship coordinator for Friends of the Riverfront.

(Jeff is right! People all across the country will hit the trails on the same day to participate in activities that bring their communities together.)

He adds, “This event will have a good impact and allow people who may not be familiar with our organization to see what it’s about and what the people involved do. The impact will be felt through the participants’ cleanup efforts and the planting of native species of trees.”

People who enjoy stewardship activities will be ecstatic to hear that REI will be at the event to speak about how they team up with Friends of the Riverfront every Earth Day to host a large volunteer cleanup in the area. (FYI, Friends of the Riverfront also hosts more than 50 other events annually, so there are multiple ways to get involved.)

Volunteers are a big part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and trails all across the country. In order for such a large system of trails to work, people who enjoy using the Three Rivers Heritage Trail must understand the importance of taking care of it.

Whether it’s cleaning up the trails after a long winter or planting native shrubs and trees to keep the paths in good shape, no effort goes unnoticed in Pittsburgh.

Learn more about the event in Pittsburgh, and other events across the nation, on RTC’s Opening Day for Trails partner events page. We hope you’ll pledge to get outside on Opening Day!

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