The sprawling green space of Hays Woods Park, between the neighborhoods of Baldwin, South Side, and Hays, has been used for nature exploration and recreation for years, but this week, the city finally made it an official park. The 626-acres along the Monongahela River once served as a coal mining site. Today, its woodlands, wetlands, streams, and meadows make up the city’s second largest park (right after Frick) and provide critical support for the local ecosystem — like the nesting bald eagles.
The city purchased the land from the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2021 for $1 plus costs. The goal is to preserve the wild spaces, trails, access roads, and ecological restorations — like Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s $233,000 partnership with Allegheny Goatscape to remove invasive plants. You can find a variety of fauna and flora throughout the park, like red-fruited hawthorns, a small flowering deciduous tree in the rose family with over 380 species, some native to Pennsylvania.