Lake Swimming Around Pittsburgh

If you go to Presque Isle check yourself for ticks when you leave! You’ll be walking along beautiful wooded foot paths in an amazingly pretty park, but you gotta check for ticks.

They do deer culls in Presque Isle every year and take measure to lower the population but they’re obviously still there, it’s gotten much better in recent years though. There’s a large hunting community in the area which helps as well.

It is the same deal around Ohio Pyle/Luarel Highlands, just have someone rummage through your hair, check your clothes/skin.

Pymatuning and Conneaute are more geared towards fisherman, although each generally has a few nice beach areas where sand has been imported for swimming.

Erie is a massive lake with tons of sandy beachers, it feels like going to a freshwater mini ocean. I really recommend it, rum runners was always a neat bar to visit on the lake as well. There is a night life area in downtown erie, and there are tons of floating restaraunts from what I understand (boat tours w/ meals)

If you go to Presque Isle, you may want to stop in at Waldameer Park when you’re done with the beach! It’s an adorable little amusement park with free admission, if you want to ride anything you’ll have to pay, one of the best wooden roller coasters ever.

Keystone State Park has a swimming beach, have gone a few times and it’s never absurdly busy. Nice trails around there too. I think it’s about 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh.

Moraine State Park is about 45-50 easy minutes from the city, just off I-79 in Butler County. They have grassy beaches with sand for sunbathing and swimming, and you can rent a kayak or canoe if that appeals to you.

Parks and Rec

Within the city limits, Frick Park is great, especially that passes below below Forbes Avenue and further South. Schenley has good casual walking/hiking trails.

Both are highly accessible from most campuses.

Harrison Hills park is also a nice park. It is one of the county parks (like N. Park or Hartwood). It has a really long trail that runs along side the cliffs over the Allegheny River. To hike the full loop takes about 2 hours with good views pretty much the whole time. It is right outside of Natrona Heights. From where you live, you could take 28 North to get there.

  • Racoon Creek is great for hiking. Some of the trails can get very water logged after the rain but definitely my favorite for hiking.
  • South Park is also very nice and has a pretty good golf course.
  • The Montour Trail is obviously not a park but an awesome trail for hiking and biking. The map on the sight will show you many different places to get get on it and there are tons of little trails that spin off the main one.

Don’t forget the Three River Heritage Trail. It’s nowhere near as beautiful as dedicated parks, but it’s great for walking/biking.

For excursions, I recommend Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. Lots of trails and lake coves.

Another Pittsburgh Urban Legend Is Born

Somebody saw a piranha at North Park Lake . . . again. I don’t know why people beleive these sort of things. Something that they know can’t be real. This is like one of those stories that remains in overly dramatic Yinzer lore for years.

Popular culture has made piranhas seem more dangerous than they really are.

Attacks on humans are rare, generally only happen when they’re starving, and are really only seriously dangerous when they’re in large groups.

On the show Penn & Teller Tell A Lie, they did a segment where Teller jumped into a tank full of Piranha. They just ignored him.

Next you will be hearing people say that they can fly like 100 yards and attack in the air! Mega Piranha, maybe, or Piranha 3D? I’m not up on my piranha movies to know what I’m up against but I am sure that this will get straightened out. Red Bellies will die in the winter as they don’t take to the cold very well. And very rarely attack humans, so i don’t think you will have to worry about that.

People, please stop applying intelligent logic to an event we can easily whip into a media frenzy.

Inexpensive Wedding Venues

I am one of those people that things that the current price for weddings is getting crazy. I don’t think that our wedding cost any more than $10k. And it was a nice affair with around 170 guests. So it wasn’t tiny either.

I am however one of those people that really gets a lot of joy from all of our great parrks. And they do make the perfect backdrop for a wedding.

Riverview park has what’s called “The Chapel” (not really a church or anything) but has a beautiful outdoor patio and is just beautiful. You have to contact city parks and actually talk with them about the different options. When I helped a friend with her wedding I called around and got different information and was able to get a good idea of what they offer.

As I called around I found out that North Park Lodge is reasonably affordable, and if you know it then you will know that it is nice. That allows for an outdoor wedding as well as a reception under cover in case of inclement weather. If you are ok with the uncertainty of the weather, I’ve also walked past the gazebos in South Park and seen weddings going on there. I think that they are relatively inexpensive, if not free, since I’m not sure that a permit was required.

Schenley Plaza Proposed Expansion

Schenley plaza is such a wonderful relaxed place, and you can already get tonnes of food and drink there.

While they are not proposing to build an Eat n’ Park in Schenley Plaza. The EnP Group are planning on building a restaurant, that is NOT EnP, in there. Right now the area currently lies empty and fenced off.

And while a fence isn’t always pretty a big building will compete with the rest of the smaller buildings there. If the developers can keep this restaurant as low key as te kiosks are, I can’t see it being a bad thing. A nice low key building is better than a fence.

Yet with so many good places to eat it seems a little strange. I truly don’t see a reason for more development.

Carnegie Lake

I learned to fish on that lake when I was a kid. So many great memories there so I got curious about why it’s so much smaller today and found this on the parks website::

Lake Carnegie in Highland Park – In the 1870s, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie partially financed the creation of Lake Carnegie to be used as a halfway station for water being pumped from the Allegheny River to the Highland Park reservoir. Originally called the Brilliant Reservoir due to its proximity to the Brilliant Oil Company, the lake was intended to be part of Pittsburgh’s municipal water system. However, around the time that the lake was completed, a pump came on the market that eliminated the need for an intermediate reservoir, so it became a recreational lake instead with a handsome boathouse. Boating, fishing, and swimming sports were all popular activities at Lake Carnegie. As aquatic sports became more popular, more than half of the lake was converted into the present-day swimming pool in 1932. Today the lake is stagnant and is seldom used, but it is still a pleasant place to stroll.

Interesting because from the 1970’s-90’s (at least) it was a hot spot for fishing.

Don’t know how/when fishing stopped but after the ducks & geese arrived it became a nice place for stolling and feeding the birds.

So, what is the plan for the lake now? They just did some work around it and closed off the water supply pipe, are they going to drain it?

Dog Parks in Pittsburgh

I would highly recommend the 2 Frick OLEAs (off-leash exercise areas) that menge101 linked to.

Many many people do not follow the leash rules in Frick park which ruins it for those of us that have older dogs that don’t want young dogs running up on them; and as a result are seen as “not friendly”.

They are both fully fenced with 5-6ft chain link and have air-lock style entries to reduce the risk of off-leash dogs running out when someone enters/exits.

They both have benches for patrons to sit on/at and a few things for the dogs to play in/on/around. Obviously you will have a mixed bag of people and dog types using the OLEA, so your mileage may vary but you run the chance of seeing annoying/aggressive dogs and inattentive and/or jerkish owners at any dog park.

I would only recommend Hot Dog Dam if the dogs you are sitting for have a good recall as that OLEA is not fully fenced in (I haven’t been there in a few years, so hopefully this has been fixed). The dog area is/was separated from the jogging trail by a split-rail fence and chain link, but the hill on the far side of the eponymous Hot Dog Dam is not fenced off at all and leads right up to a highly traveled road and intersection (Forbes and Braddock Avenues).

That being said, this OLEA is awesome for dogs that love playing/jumping into water or need a bit of a cool down or non-soapy rinse off from other activities.

Camping and Hiking

We visited Rickett’s Glen a couple years ago and loved it. The Ganoga Falls trails were brilliant, and there was a beautiful beach hidden there as well.

Ohiopyle has some beautiful falls. The river’s great to look at, even if you aren’t doing any rafting or kayaking and Ohiopyle itself is a fun little town.

Make time for Cucumber Falls and the Natural Waterslides.

Besides Ohiopyle, have you gone to the Delaware Water Gap (Bushkill Falls are in the same area)? The Lehigh Gorge? There’s also Hickory Run State Park. Traversing a boulder field is always a lot of fun.

In the area, I’d especially recommend either the Bear Run Nature Reserve. There are several hundred acres of wood and trails that surrounds Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water house and the Fern Cliff Natural Area.

The latter is pretty small, but has many great views of the river.

Laurel Ridge State Park is also a good series of trails. The benefit to it is that pretty much every west-east road through the southern half of the state passes through it and have trail access. Good trails, many nice views.

Conemaugh Lake is one that doesn’t get a lot of press, but is really cool. An combination of trails and an old rail right of way cross a series of oxbow bends in the Conemaugh River Lake. The views are incredible.

Similar can be found up around Kinzua Lake near the NY border.

Problems At Frick Park

Frick park could be a nice place to spend time with your dog. Read “could.” Like many other dogs, our dog has severe anxiety and does not play well with others and that is why we keep him on a leash at all times.

If every pet owner could simply keep their dog on a leash, the park would be a much safer place for everyone. Currently, it is not safe and it is not fair. IF you insist on having your dog off-leash, please only use one of the fenced off areas in the park designated for off-leash play.

The owners will usually respond with: “oh, he’s friendly.” But they say that after an attack just the same. I have heard this ignorant excuse time and time again, and it is not okay. It’s important to remember that even if your dog is the perfect, it is still and always will be an animal.

People who don’t control/call back their off leash dogs always make me think they just don’t actually care or think about their own dog’s safety.

This is a fundamental problem with people, it seems.

Good luck convincing dog owners that their little buddy isn’t special and that they should follow the rules for everybody’s sake. Just like in traffic, many people seem to think the rules apply only to everybody else.

We also have the same issue but on a much smaller scale at the dog park here in Lawrenceville.

Still, this happens in pretty much every city.

If you do some searching around online, you’ll see people complaining about it all over the place. Aside from the residents who just don’t care, the issue is generally that the police aren’t going to respond to these complaints (unless there’s a physical fight or something similar) and animal control is overworked. It’s not reasonable, for the animal control officer or for the city itself, to station somebody in the parks for hours at a time just to make sure that people keep their dogs on leash.

Unfortunately, it’s like the equivalent of having somebody standing nearby to make sure people don’t litter.

I’d recommend carrying a large umbrella with you. If a dog starts running towards you, open the umbrella and point it down in the direction of the dog, as a blocker between the dog and you.

Possible Ban On Drones In City Parks

And I am in agrement since there are many factors. First and most important: liability.

Everyone is terrified of getting sued. Having seen some of the drone pilots at Shenley and almost getting hit by one once, I can understand this.

Secondly: UPMC has rights to airspace above the park.

Others have cited privacy concerns. I’m not convinced that the right to privacy in a public park is very well grounded. I mean, it’s a public park. It is, by nature and definition, not private. So I am not sure that that is what is really a factor here.

That leaves me with my original concerns outweighing privacy. Which mostly come down to safety concerns of RC aircraft that might carry cameras and safety concerns of actual manned flight.

I have watched people attempt to paraguilde in the different parks which seems like a really bad idea.