Figuratively speaking, blazing one's own trail is a good thing. When it comes to Pittsburgh's parks, however, it can have a lasting effect on habitat and ecosystems.
Left: A sanctioned trail in Highland Park features "rock armoring," a technique used to keep park users on stable footing. Right: Rogue trails built too close together carve up a hillside.
New trails are thoughtfully designed and carefully constructed with the blessing of the City of Pittsburgh in collaboration with partners such as the Parks Conservancy, Trail Pittsburgh, the Student Conservation Association, and others. Consideration is given to safety, trail use, topography, hydrology, and habitat when new trails are mapped out; after all, the Parks Conservancy and our partners who work to improve park health don't want to disrupt a fragile wetland, expose a hillside to damaging erosion with a new trail, or injure park users.
Recently, rogue trails near the Seasonal Pools in Highland Park were built without permission from the City or in collaboration with park partners. They will be closed in early spring. With the help of park partners and volunteers, work will soon take place to restore this area. Stay tuned for opportunities to help restore this part of Highland Park!