SPORTS & OUTDOORS

McConnells Mill State Park

In southwestern PA, it is a challenge to find remote and scenic hikes. But one is only about an hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh, just off of Rt. 422 in eastern Lawrence County, in McConnells Mill State Park.

The Greatest Sport?

by Marino Parascenzo
As far as I’m concerned, the summer of 2013 was a bust. It was supposed to be the summer of the 17-​year cicada, humming with a biblical infestation of the things. But there wasn’t so much as a chirp or whirr, and not one gawking husk on a fence post.…

The house finch

by David Liebmann
It’s no surprise that a city defined by former immigrant neighborhoods would be the gateway for yet another group of newcomers forced to gain a foothold in unfamiliar terrain. Such is the case with Carpodacus mexicanus — the house finch — which was often called the California linnet and the Hollywood finch before it…

Opening Day, Minus One

Dunbar creek runs into the Youghiogheny River just north of South Connellsville in Fayette County. Vestiges of the interurban streetcar lines are all over. A massive stone arch that was once part of a bridge crossing the Dunbar Creek valley stands like an ancient Roman aqueduct by the coke oven…

Exploring the Fort Necessity area

One of the most interesting historical sites in the Laurel Highlands is the Fort Necessity National Battlefield. And a new destination for hiking and exploring in the region is a property currently owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and about to be added to Forbes State Forest, adjacent to the…

Bring on March Madness

by Marino Parascenzo
The swell thing about working nights for an “ayem” (morning paper) is you can be having your first coffee and catch the early games, still in your jammies. And with that, you’re on your way to the greatest show on Earth: Opening Day of a three-​week national fixation: the Big…

The wood duck

by David Liebmann
Changing habitat has complex consequences for birds. Some species prefer deep, old growth forests. Others thrive around patchwork clearcuts. Some require grasslands to breed, while others reproduce in swampy bottomlands. Some of our notorious losses — the ivory-​billed woodpecker and Carolina parakeet — needed relatively narrow bands of Southern wetland so much that when…

Taking full flight

by Philip Anselmo
Pittsburgh’s once-​endangered National Aviary wrapped up 2013 as the most successful year in its 60-​year history and capped a dramatic six-​year expansion. With record visitors and record numbers of new birds joining its collection (many living two to three times their life expectancy), the North Side institution has come a…

French Creek Watershed

When we in Pittsburgh look out on the Allegheny River, it can remind us that the water flowing past has its origins in some faraway places worth visiting and exploring. One of these is the broad valley of the west branch of French Creek in Erie County.

Lay your money down

by Marino Parascenzo
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve never really caught on to the gambling culture of pro football. Not that I’m totally clueless. I understand the over-​under and a pick not covering. But when it comes to teasers, props and such, they might as well be speaking calculus.

Wintering in Pittsburgh

by David Liebmann
With winter’s chill approaching, most birds long ago migrated south. Migration actually begins in August and continues through the milder months of September and October. Birds wing their way to more abundant food sources, with some of Pittsburgh’s species heading deep into South America to tropical climes. A few hearty…

Louis vs. Lewis

Joe Louis was the man. Everyone in the country knew his name. He was heavyweight champion of the world when the title was the most prized crown in all of sports and carried more prestige than the biggest Hollywood star.

Oil Creek State Park

Western Pennsylvania has an abundance of extraordinary places to hike. A few of these, such as Oil Creek State Park in northern Venango County, provide substantial regional history along with a scenic landscape.

Elk Creek in Erie County

Unusual and beautiful places lie just off the beaten path in Erie County — sites that even those who frequently travel to Pennsylvania’s northwesternmost county may not know.

Yellow-​billed cuckoo

by David Liebmann
Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods, and the patchwork-​quilt variety of them gives everyone a place to call home and a sense of identity to go with it. We say Shadyside, Bloomfield or the South Side, Fox Chapel, the Strip or Swissvale, and certain images, people and lifestyles come to…
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