According to Ranger Stevie Smith, spring in Northside parks means ‘flowers, fungi and fawns.’
Photo: Stevie Wander Photography
Hello, my park lover friends.
I hope you had an amazing spring season, because summer is right around the corner!
Let’s first wander to Allegheny Commons Park, where Lake Elizabeth was completely drained and cleaned out by over 100 volunteers on April 5th, 6th, and 9th. Planting and mulching was done around the Thomas Armstrong Memorial and trees have been planted throughout the park by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy; Allegheny Commons Park is looking absolutely beautiful.
The Deer Pit Playground in West Park should be getting finished by mid-summer and talk about summer… Gus is back in Allegheny Commons! If you are new to the Northside or to Pittsburgh, then maybe you aren’t familiar with the famous Gus & Yia Yia’s. The original ice ball stand was purchased by Gus Kalaris’ father in 1934 for $175, then in 1951, Kalaris took over the family business and has been working almost every day during the summer ever since. Gus usually arrives no later than 12 p.m. and stays out until about 7 or 8 p.m. (sometimes later on weekends). If you haven’t had an ice ball, my favorite is the Cherry-Banana flavor. Hopefully you’re not reading this in the morning, wanting an iceball for breakfast (hehe), so what’s your favorite flavor? Next time you visit Gus, be sure to take a photo, post it on your Instagram story, and tag your @pghparkrangers. Also, if you would like to join me for a Park Ranger “Walk & Talk” in Allegheny Commons on June 7th at 9 a.m., we will be meeting at the Iron Deer Sculpture.
Now, let’s wander to Riverview Park. Are you looking for a way to volunteer in Riverview Park? Ben Brewer, an avid volunteer, has a monthly volunteer trail work day. The group meets on the last Saturday of the month at 9 a.m. at the Riverview Visitor Center. Volunteers should expect to get dirty, so dress accordingly: wear closed-toe shoes (hiking boots are recommended) and clothes you do not mind getting dirty. Bring water and snacks to stay hydrated and fueled.
The next volunteer day is June 25th. If you have any other questions, please email Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With spring and summer happening so fast, we also have so many different things popping up in our parks! Just three to start with are flowers, fungi, and fawns. Enjoy this month’s photo and play nature identification.
Stevie Smith is a City of Pittsburgh Park Ranger in the Northside’s Allegheny Commons Park.