A View From The Air
In September 2005, when a racetrack, strip mines and valley fills were proposed for the site, Tom and Connie Merriman hired an airplane to fly over Hays Woods and the surrounding area. This five minute video shows the extent of Hays Woods and its placement in the city.
Views From The Top
Hays Woods has many existing trails as well as utility rights of way that provide access to the site. Because the utilities follow the ridge line, there are long views of the river valley from the power line cut. Inevitably, power lines and towers are in the picture or just behind the photographer.
In the spring and summer of 2017, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy conducted an Ecological and Conservation Assessment of Hays Woods for the Allegheny Land Trust. This video shows a few of the photos taken during that assessment. The numbers on the slides, identify photo locations on these two maps: Photo Points North and Photo Points South. (The waterfall photo is not numbered because it was taken by visitors in 2005.)
Wildlife at Hays Woods
Hays Woods’ most famous inhabitants are a pair of Bald Eagles who nest on the southeastern river slope. Protected by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (and hidden trail cams) visitors are forbidden to enter the eagles’ zone during the nesting season December to August. The best view of the eagles is from the Three Rivers Heritage bike trail across Rt 837 from Hays Woods. Click here for directions.
When the eagles are nesting, watch them on the Hays Bald Eagle nest cam at Audubon Society of Western PA. For more photos of the Hays eagles, visit Eagles of Hays PA on Facebook.
Hays Woods abounds with other wildlife including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Click here for more information on the wildlife seen on site.
Plants at Hays Woods
Hays Woods is home to many plants, some invasive, some rare.
Invasive species include the typical cadre found in western Pennsylvania: Japanese knotweed, Amur honeysuckle, Japanese stiltgrass, garlic mustard, etc.
During the 2017 site assessment, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy found several stands of red-fruited hawthorn. However, hawthorns are difficult to identify and they tend to hybridize so WPC recommends more study on site to determine their extent on the tract and what importance hybridization holds for red-fruited hawthorn conservation at Hays Woods.
Here are a few of the site assessments conducted at Hays Woods, 1988 to 2017, listed newest to oldest.
- Hays Woods Ecological and Conservation Assessment, 1 July 2017 — prepared for the Allegheny Land Trust by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
- Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Hays Woods Property DRAFT, June 2016 — prepared for Urban Redevelopment Authority by Chester Engineers.
- Pittsburgh Hillsides Ecology Report, August 2004 — prepared for City of Pittsburgh Hillsides Committee in cooperation with Allegheny Land Trust. This report describes Hayes (sic) Woods as: “Best example of a recovering/remnant biological system for city baseline. Most likely to succeed as a preservation, restoration site.”
- Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Hays Property Visit, Site Report – 11 July 2003 — requested by City of Pittsburgh Councilman William Peduto.
- Environmental Assessment, LTV Steel Property (Hays Woods), September 1988 — prepared for DGD Realty Acquisition Corporation by Earth Sciences Consultants.