Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) closed on two projects at the end of 2015, starting 2016 with 194 additional acres in Franklin Park and Bell Acres Boroughs.
The 168-acre Linbrook Woodlands in Franklin Park and 26-acre Hunt Road property in Bell Acres are now part of ALT’s more than 2,000 acres of protected green space in Allegheny and Washington Counties. The completion of these projects brought ALT’s 2015 project total to five, which ties its record-breaking year in 2014.
“Both projects are valuable green spaces with rich histories,” said President & CEO Chris Beichner. “They’ll both serve as great assets to the community, to the wildlife and to the plant life that flourish on these conservation areas.”
Linbrook Woodlands is located in a high quality natural area of the county, and neighbors an existing community park. While the state’s budget impasse nearly jeopardized the project, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy was able to provide a loan through its Colcom Foundation Revolving Fund for Local Land Trusts to help bridge the funding gap for this project. The fund provides land trusts and other organizations throughout Western Pennsylvania with short-term access to funding for critical land conservation needs.
Linbrook Woodlands now contributes to the area’s recreational opportunities, provides natural water retention, increases surrounding property values, protects habitat for 107 species of native and migratory birds, preserves important native plant habitat and contributes to the region’s scenic character. Two University Of Pittsburgh Non-Profit Clinic graduate students are working on a community outreach effort to solicit input and ideas that will be used in the Master Plan for Linbrook Woodlands. Meeting announcements will be posted on ALT and Franklin Park’s websites.
The Hunt Road property is located at the headwaters of Little Sewickley Creek—a high quality trout-stocked fishery, which boasts some of the best water quality in the county. The property, once operated as a mink farm, contains a mix of mature woodlands, meadows, wetlands, springs and seeps providing a diversity of habitats. It includes grassland habitat needed for declining bird species, such as the upland sandpiper and eastern meadowlark.
To learn more about both new conservation areas, as well as the dozens of other properties protected by the Allegheny Land Trust, please check our website for periodic updates.