By Seth Sherman, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Intern
Anyone who has lived in Pittsburgh for the last few decades knows just how much the city has changed in that time.
You were able to watch the city’s transformation from a post-industrial town in turmoil to a sprawling, revitalized, and modern community. You saw the city clean itself up while retaining its historical roots. You were there when the city started to heal itself. You got to be a part of Pittsburgh’s new renaissance. And that is exactly what Mayor William Peduto and the organizations involved with the Pedal-Paddle-Peduto: Get Outside and Learn Series are trying to showcase during Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial.
Pedal-Paddle-Peduto is a collection of three outings that the great people at Venture Outdoors are hosting over the next few months. Each of these outings provide an intimate experience exploring the city and connecting the people of Pittsburgh with the leaders of the organizations that are partially responsible for creating its new renaissance and for planning an even brighter future. According to Lora Woodward, Program Director for Venture Outdoors, the series originally ran from 2009-2012 at the suggestion of the then councilman.
“He was interested in hosting a monthly ‘hike and learn’ series with Venture Outdoors and special guests from other area organizations. We gave him the green light to help us plan the adventures and came up with a wonderful series that highlights Pittsburgh’s renaissance from a lot of different perspectives,” said Woodward.
“When I saw Bill at an event last year, he mentioned wanting to bring back the series as a way of celebrating Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial. I thought it was a great idea and reached out to many of our partners in the Greenspace Alliance and others we’ve worked with on the series and put together a great hike, bike ride, and kayak paddle based on what we did in years past.”
The first event is the Schenley Park Walkabout, which will be happening this Sunday, August 28th from 12pm to 3pm at Schenley Park at a price of $10.00 for Venture Outdoors members and $15.00 for non-members. Here Mayor Peduto along with leaders from the Student Conservation Association, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Group Against Smog and Pollution, and Oakland Planning and Development, will highlight the restoration projects, share information about the City’s ranger program, show environmental indicators of air quality, and discuss the Oakland community’s relationship to the park.
The next event will be happening Sunday, September 18th and is the Religious Institutions of Pittsburgh Bike Ride at a price of $20.00 for Venture Outdoors members and $27.00 for non-members. This will also happen from 12:00pm to 3pm and will be a leisurely bike ride through Oakland and the East End as the ride showcases the art, architecture, along with the community and historical importance of many of the different religious institutions of the area. Cycling experience is necessary. Mayor Peduto will join leaders from the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, Bike Pittsburgh, and Healthy Ride as they show the history of some of Pittsburgh’s most important religious landmarks through a fun guided bike ride.
The third and last event of this series is the Three Rivers Kayaking Tour, which will be happening Sunday, October 18th from 12:00pm to 3pm at a price of $25.00 for Venture Outdoors members and $33.00 for non-members. Kayaking experience is necessary. Mayor Peduto along with the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, Riverlife, Allegheny Cleanways, and Three Rivers Waterkeeper, will be guiding a five-mile kayaking trip with stops near the Point and Brunot Island where the trip leaders will discuss both the future of development on the riverfront and the health of the waterways. This trip will start at Kayak Pittsburgh on the North Shore.
Interested participants can register for individual outings and Venture Outdoors members can register for the entire series for $40.00. You can also register to become a member of Venture Outdoors on their website, so that you can get the discounted price for this event, while also helping to support their mission of connecting everyone to the benefits of outdoor recreation.. If you want a fun, educational way of both learning about the city’s history and future, along with being able to directly interact with some of city’s leaders and fully understand all the changes that are going around the city, I see no better opportunity than the upcoming Pedal-Paddle-Peduto outings that Venture Outdoors is hosting. You’ll be able to put a face on the many great organizations that put Pittsburgh in its current renaissance and that are working hard to give it a better future.