By: Lora Woodward, Program Director
Congratulations to Venture Outdoors Volunteer Trip Leader David Bennett who was recognized recently by the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) as an Outstanding Volunteer! Venture Outdoors has been partnering with MWCDC for approximately seven years showcasing the evolution of Pittsburgh’s fifth regional city park, Emerald View Park, through outdoor recreation.
As MWCDC Park Development and Conservation Director, Kathryn Hunninen, describes it, “Emerald View Park is 257 acres of historic park spaces, a state scenic byway, and forests stretching from Allentown in the east and wrapping around Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights. The majority of the 13,000 local residents live within 1/4 mile of a park entrance or trail access. The Park offers opportunities to explore the rich history of the Mount while experiencing nature and unique views of the city, the rivers, and the southern hills.”
Volunteer David Bennett rose to the forefront of the trip leader corps with his interest in featuring Mount Washington and Emerald View Park on his outings. David believes that partnerships like the one between Venture Outdoors and MWCDC are important because they “build bridges with the community. Both groups are able to share their special expertise and they help each other better serve the public.”
Kathryn agrees that the partnership is important. “Venture Outdoors has been a key partner in helping us to promote the Park and the neighborhood to people from all over the region.”
Kathryn says that Emerald View Park is a relatively new and constantly evolving space. Over the past four years, the MWCDC has built or renovated about 10 miles of woodland trails. They now have the infrastructure to utilize the space for educational themed programs, long-distance hikes, and specialty outings that combine outdoor recreation with a stop at one of the many neighborhood businesses.
David enjoys showing off Emerald View Park because it is conveniently located in the heart of Pittsburgh. “There are spectacular views, lush vegetation and an abundance of wildlife. And it’s all surprisingly easy to get to,” says David, a resident of Observatory Hill in the North Side.
David has been a Volunteer Trip Leader with Venture Outdoors since 2008 and was the recipient of the 2014 Jefferson Award for Public Service. He says, “I love introducing people to stunning views of nature, places they never knew were almost as close as their own backyards.”
In addition to David, MWCDC also recognized residents Eva Simms and Joseph Reznik who have served as guest speakers on past Venture Outdoors outings.
Check out an upcoming outing that features Emerald View Park!
Sunday, October 11 – Autumn Bird ID Walk
Saturday, November 7 – Lewis & Clark History Hike