Down by the rivers

Last week I attended a presentation by Bob Gangewere about the Heritage Signs on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. I was looking for an update on the progress of the Great Allegheny Passage (which still has gaps at this end), which will eventually make it possible to bike from the Point to DC without having to dodge any traffic more threatening than cycling parents pulling those kid-trailers.

He tossed out some alluring ideas from the land of Friends of the Riverfront and the greenway community about what it would mean for Pittsburgh to be a "trail town," a destination for tourists riding up from DC. And here's an interesting question, particularly in these dire penny-pinching times: Can we get a hostel or campground in the city? We used to have a hostel -- are we so unhip we don't want European university students to bivouac here on the cheap in the summer? Someone has proposed a campground on a barge, which sounds very cool. There's also a plan floating around for a greenway around Mt. Washington with interpretive signs.

And speaking of signs, which was the thrust of the presentation, if you've never been out on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail (the Jail Trail, the South Side Trail, the North Shore trail that goes up and around Washington's Landing, etc.) and seen the historical signs, get out there when Pittsburgh thaws out and watch for them instead of jogging/skating/cycling past. The artwork is beautiful (when it isn't graffitied) and the historical tidbits are fascinating; I'd wager there are city and area natives who will discover things they never knew.


5 Responses to "Down by the rivers"

MH said... 2/22/2009 11:33 AM

I'll try the trail, but I'll leave sleeping on barges to Europeans.

H.O. Blues said... 2/22/2009 1:00 PM

A barge camp? What a great idea, how about hostels , hotels, and/or houses on the rivers on boats, a la Tom Hanks living in that house boat in "Sleepless in Seattle"? I travel to town once a year to ride the trail, and attend a family reunion. I can't wait for this year's trip.

joe said... 2/23/2009 7:23 PM

Not sure about the barge camp, but if it happens it should feature a canal boat crossing nearby (maybe as the mechanism to get out there?)

People could go on canal boat crossing rides on summer evenings (where is the A and where is the B?)...

Check out these photos of the old canal boats. The Allegheny Portage Railroad was pretty amazing.

While we're at it we could look to Providence and create a Waterfire, Pittsburgh style.

mark tomlinson said... 3/06/2009 3:19 AM

i am part of a working group that has been meeting since fall 2008 with the idea of bringing a pittsburgh hostel back to life... email me at if you'd like more coming soon

Katherine said... 11/05/2009 12:23 AM

Here is the website Mark mentioned above for the Pittsburgh Hostel Project: Pittsburgh does need a hostel. Sign up or email to get involved!

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