USC Citizens for Land Stewardship
Conservation and stewardship of land and natural resources in Upper St. Clair

the Land

Background:  The following letter was sent to potential contributors to help fund the acquisition of the Wingfield Pines property located in Upper St. Clair PA by the Allegheny Land Trust.  CLS was a major supporter of this project.  The letter provides historical and contextual information that furthers the understanding of this project.

August 15, 2001

Dear USC Citizens for Land Stewardship supporter:

We have a story that we think you will want to hear. It began four years ago when CLS was born and with your continued support, will continue well into the future.

CLS formed to promote the conservation of natural resources throughout the township and we have engaged the community, township and other organizations to a degree we did not imagine we could. As you know, we have focused much of our effort on Boyce-Mayview Park, seeing that the planning process considers the natural values of the park. We will continue to do so.

But we have always tried to look at the larger picture, even larger than the 500 acres within Boyce-Mayview Park. The park is part of the Chartiers Creek corridor and upstream and downstream of Boyce-Mayview are other lands that have incredible natural, recreational and educational value. One of those pieces of land, known locally as Wingfield Pines - a now defunct golf course bordering Chartiers Creek and Mayview Road - came up for auction two years ago. Although the auction never proceeded, CLS saw the possibility of adding this 70 acres of land and wetland to the Chartiers Creek conservation corridor.

CLS partnered with the Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) - a Land Trust operating in Allegheny County with expertise in property acquisition and ownership - to negotiate with the landowner of the former golf course. Negotiations led to a sales option for ALT: the selling price - $450,000 plus closing costs. An application to the Pennsylvania Department of Recreation and Conservation led to a grant for $230,000 to help fund the purchase of the property. The challenge now is to raise another $230,000 to match that grant.

As the local group championing stewardship of natural resources, CLS saw this project as an absolute must to connect the people of the township and the region with something unique, substantial and lasting, but the possibility of raising the funds in short order was daunting. Out of the blue, before the CLS Board could consider a plan of action, Board member, Rob MacLachlan stepped forward with a proposal that suddenly made raising $230,000 seem possible.

Rob's father was a prominent Pittsburgh architect whose credits include Heinz Hall and Point State Park. His architectural firm commissioned Nat Youngblood - an artist of national stature - to depict key events of the French and Indian War through six paintings which were then photographed and used in the creation of displays for the Point State Park museum. These marvelous original paintings were then put into storage in 1969. When Rob's father died, Rob held onto the paintings, wishing one day to see them available to the public. When the chance to acquire the old Wingfield Pines property became a real possibility, Rob saw the connection that united his conservation ethic with his desire to see Youngblood's work on display for the public. Rob agreed to sell the paintings and donate the proceeds and tax savings to the purchase of the property.

The CLS Board united behind Rob's substantial lead and has committed $3770 of personal contributions toward this project. We are doing this because we see this land and the public uses it will provide as pivotal in defining the future of the valley, including our township and neighboring townships. We are now looking to our members and supporters to help make this vision a reality.

The CLS Board works diligently to give voice to the natural values of the places in which we live. We are incredibly proud of our members, like Rob MacLachlan, who have invested so much of their time and resources in the organization, in the township and to conservation. We hope that you will stand up and be counted among our supporters who make an investment in what the next generation, and many yet to come, will call home.

There are few things that are more tangible and lasting than the legacy of land. Locally, there are few things that will mean more to conservation. Please make a commitment by making a contribution to help reconnect the valley and the people living in it. USC Citizens for Land Stewardship is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your contribution is federal tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Thank you for your support and commitment.


Board of Directors
USC Citizens for Land Stewardship

Tracey T. Buckman - President

Jeffrey D. Wagner - Vice-President

Annette R. Shimer - Secretary

Robert S. Purdy - Treasurer

Renée Brune Mary Lee Maloy

Charles A. Buckman Sarah Maloy

Pam Burrett Nancy J. Page

Jan Fleckenstein Thomas A. Page

Rob MacLachlan Preston W. Shimer

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