Not long ago, the neglected 80-acre property at Wingfield Pines offered nothing to the community except the thousands of gallons of abandoned mine drainage (AMD) it poured into Chartiers Creek every day. The land had been strip mined in the 1940s, and was later home to a failed golf and swim club. However, Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) saw potential in the site and took steps to acquire the land. A Keystone Fund grant, combined with contributions from local foundations and citizens, provided the financing to seal the deal.
After acquiring the land, ALT engaged graduate students to create a master plan and 50-year vision for restoring the site. Then it set out to make that vision a reality.
Today, Wingfield Pines features exquisite wildlife habitat, community green space, and a passive AMD treatment system with cutting-edge aesthetics, design, technology, and function. The treatment system is visually appealing, with pie-shaped wetlands bordered by pathways, boardwalks, and stepping-stones. Interpretive signs guide visitors through the system, describing the history, biology, and habitats of the area. It is a living laboratory for local college students, who come to study aquatic biology.
The benefits of this conservation effort have been both tangible and priceless. It has improved water quality and flood control, and restored two miles of impaired stream. The recreation area and innovative treatment system draw locals and visitors alike, and the site plays host to public walks, conference workshops, and demonstrations.
Wingfield Pines, once forgotten, has become a haven for biodiversity and a symbol of pride for the community.