Wingfield Pines: Land Use Policy
It is of primary importance to Allegheny Land Trust’s mission, as a land conservation organization, that it protects the region’s scenic quality, biodiversity, and water quality. The organization’s bylaws require and its funding depends upon close adherence to those values. Adhering to those values while also providing recreational opportunities for various user groups at ALT conservation areas is a delicate balance, and one that is taken very seriously.
ALT staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly over recent years to restore the environment at Wingfield Pines, and this work is yielding noticeable results. Specifically, the ever-increasing number of bird species visiting, nesting, and breeding at this unique conservation area has exemplified marked improvement in the health of the site’s ecology. The implementation of the new dog zones is another step in the process of land and habitat restoration for Wingfield Pines’ ecology.
JULY 17 UPDATE:
- Unless otherwise identified as a specified off-leash zone, dogs must be on-leash at all times at the conservation area.
- No dogs are permitted in the AMD system.
- Dogs are permitted off-leash on the southern 25 acres of the property.
- Owners must pick up after their pet, and remove the waste from the conservation area.
- No more than 2 dogs per person at any given time.
BACKGROUND In 2016, Allegheny Land Trust identified a need to change the dog policy of Wingfield Pines to balance the conservation values and ecological needs with varied property users’ preferences. Following their suggestions to revoke off-leash areas or dog usage entirely, The Board of Directors charged ALT staff with finding a solution.
ALT notified the community, held a public meeting for discussion, offered a forum for online input and feedback, and made staff and Board members available on-site to work with the community toward a solution. Through these conversations, ALT learned that users value the large off-leash zones, and ALT staff began to seek a middle ground to meet ecological needs and these identified user preferences. ALT staff were determined to seek a middle ground to avoid making Wingfield Pines an on-leash only area, like all other ALT conservation areas.
On June 1, 2017, ALT shared the new pet usage policy through a variety of methods including new on-site signage, e-mail, social media, and word-of-mouth. That policy is posted at the top and bottom of this page.
POLICY & VIOLATION TRACKING It has been more than one month since the new policy has been in place at Wingfield Pines, and we wanted to take this time to update everyone on the current situation. ALT staff was charged to do their best to track the adoption of the new rules including using visual assessments via staff, updates from volunteers and property users and surveillance cameras. At the September Board of Directors meeting, we will be required to present this information (updated) where then the board will make a decision as to continue with an off-leash exception at Wingfield Pines along with next steps.
Statistics from 45 days of tracking:
- 60 dogs off leash in leash-required area
- 0 Dogs were found in the AMD system
- 52 piles of dog waste were removed by ALT intern
- 7 people were identified as having 3 or more dogs
- 2 negative dog interactions with guests
We will continue to track violations up until the board meeting. If you have any suggestions on how to better enforce the zones, have questions about the process, or want to discuss the on & off-leash zones, then please call ALT directly at 412-741-2750.