Windgap to Ohio River

Click outlined conservation area:


Conservation Area

These seventy plus acres of forested hillside lead down to Chartiers Creek by the P&O railroad tracks.  The property is located across the creek from the old Scully Yards.

The Chartiers Nature Conservancy acquired this important steep slope parcel from Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The land forms a vital connecting link to the greenway. It is the largest conserved parcel between the historic old Crafton golf course in Thornburg, now a nature area, and Sheraden Park.  The acreage can be accessed from the Industrial Highway (leading from Route 60 at the Thornburg Bridge) which serves Chartiers Valley Industrial Park.

Sheraden Park

The 51 acre Sheraden Park is a community park serving the local Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Sheraden and Esplen and the adjacent borough of McKees Rocks.  Facilities include a recreation center, swimming pool, baseball fields and playgrounds.  

The park lies along the Chartiers greenway between Chartiers Nature Conservancy's Windgap Land and the proposed Riverfront Park. 

Riverfront Park 
Master Plan

Point of confluence between Chartiers Creek and the Ohio River.

Railroad Bridge spanning Chartiers Creek.  Park is between RR bridge and Ohio River.

In the early 1990's, The CIty of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Planning Departments identified the Chartiers/Ohio Riverfront Park as a potential recreation site.  The park site is located on the south bank of the Ohio River, east of Chartiers Creek.  Located in the Esplen neighborhood, the site includes 2.300 feet of riverfront ranging in width from 60 to 200 feet.

Pedestrian walkway by railroad bridge across Chartiers Creek.

Satellite view of proposed Riverfront Park.   Shopping center parking in McKees Rocks across Chartiers Creek. Chartiers Greenway joins proposed park.

The four acre site will:

  1. Serve as a trail access point for the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and Chartiers Creek Greenway system.

  2. Improve opportunities for bank fishing, an existing use of the site.

  3. Provide access to the water's edge for land-based and non-motorized boating activities.

  4. Restore the green infrastructure of the site eradicated by the previous landowner.

  5. Meet the passive recreation needs of the city of Pittsburgh's Esplen and Sheraden neighborhoods and the adjacent residents in McKees Rocks Borough.

Site Plan of proposed Riverfront Park.  Water to right is Ohio River, waterway at top of drawing is Chartiers Creek.  Railroad separates park from Esplen neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Three alternative plans were developed for the trailhead.  All plans include a multi-purpose trail and naturalized riparian plantings, along with access and parking.  Fishing areas, picnic shelter, elevated and water-level river overlooks, accessible loop trail, open lawn and entry plaza are some further considerations for the area.

The tree-covered slope down to the river is populated with sycamore, box elder, willow, hackberry, slippery elm, black locust and black cherry.  Japanese knotweed has crowded out native understory shrubs.  The uplands have also been recently clear-cut and pioneer black locust predominates.

Management recommendations for the park site focus on maximizing habitat to increase the numbers and diversity of wildlife, primarily by establishing a more natural river edge and more gradual river bottom slope from the edge toward the middle of the channel.  Nesting boxes for waterfowl, establishing a no-wake zone to minimize wave damage to vegetation, creation of shallow water areas for floating leaf and emergent vegetation and construction of an osprey platform are some ideas that are being considered for this area.  The riparian forest sloping down to the river contains a good mix of trees, with deadwood snags for perches and roosts for swallows.  Eradication of the invasive Japanese knotweed is a must and also being considered is replacement of the disturbed uplands vegetation with prairie grasses.

Area map showing streets. waterways and greenspace in vicinity of proposed park (red).

The Chartiers Creek Greenway system will connect the proposed riverfront park with nearby playgrounds and the 51 acre Sheraden Park.  Pedestrian access to the railroad bridge will connect the park with Ranger Field in McKees Rocks to create  the beginning trailhead to the greenway.