Providing Seasonal Rangers to Local Parks:
Allegheny County Parks Department & City of Pittsburgh
In addition to burgeoning technology and medical industries, a premier airport, and a world-renowned cultural district, Allegheny County boasts renewed commitment to the environment, including endeavors to reclaim and redevelop former industrial sites, returning them to active economic and recreational use. In 2015, with Foundation support, the Allegheny County Parks Department (ACPD) successfully partnered with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to pilot a park ranger program in which teams of rangers and project leaders recruited by SCA served as ambassadors within the county’s nine parks, enhancing visitors’ safety and protecting and preserving the parks’ natural environments. A $700,000 Foundation grant in 2016, payable over two years, will enable the ACPD to expand its partnership with SCA, which has more than six decades’ experience recruiting and fielding seasonal ranger interns to parks and forests nationwide. The ACPD will increase the number of rangers from six to 18, all of whom will serve in the county’s parks, providing support and services to an estimated 11 million visitors annually.
The City of Pittsburgh has 146 parks encompassing nearly 3,000 acres, ranging from small neighborhood parklets to the 644-acre Frick Park in the East End. More than six million people use Pittsburgh’s parks each year. In 2015, Pittsburgh’s Parks Department (Citiparks) began a collaborative program with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to place park rangers in one of the city’s most utilized parks, Schenley Park. As ambassadors for Citiparks, rangers helped with education, provided safety, assisted with code enforcement, collected data, and responded to emergency situations. The rangers were well received by the public, and the pilot program was considered successful. A $700,000 grant to the city is supporting a two-year program involving at least 12 SCA rangers who, working in six city parks, provide support to visitors and residents.