Location: Dead Man’s Hollow, located just south of McKeeport in Lincoln and Liberty boroughs and Elizabeth Township in southeast Allegheny County

Featured guests: Lindsay Dill, senior director of marketing & community engagement at the Allegheny Land Trust

3 things that surprised me:

1. Although Dead Man’s Hollow is a beautiful natural space, it’s also full of reminders of its industrial past, such as a large pit that used to be a quarry. In the 1800s, a brick factory opened on the site. After that burned down, the same company built a sewer pipe factory there and it’s those ruins that dominate part of Dead Man’s Hollow. It’s hard to imagine the massive factory belching smoke into this valley that has now been reclaimed by nature.

2. Lindsay explains that they’re not exactly sure where the name “Dead Man’s Hollow” came from, but the site does have its share of ghost stories. There are tales of deadly elevator crashes and other accidents from its factory days. There are also rumors of thieves and other suspicious characters hiding out in the area. Lindsay says there’s a giant sycamore known as the Tree Trunk Hideaway where a treasure was supposedly hidden.

3. Dead Man’s Hollow is 450 acres, the largest of Allegheny Land Trust’s sites and also the largest privately protected conservation area in all of Allegheny County. It’s also an official Wild Plant Sanctuary and the area is full of blooming ephemerals every spring. Allegheny Land Trust has recorded 111 different birds at the site. Lindsay says it’s also a great place to identify mushrooms.

One thing that didn’t make the final cut: Allegheny Land Trust organizes regular guided walks through Dead Man’s Hollow. There are starlight walks and mushroom walks and haunted walks. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities if you want to help maintain and restore our natural areas.

Additional info: Dead Man’s Hollow is just one of Allegheny Land Trust’s many sites. You can learn more about the conservation group and its green spaces at the organization’s website.

Want more Yinzer Backstage Pass? Check out our visit to the firefighter training facility in Highland Park.

Boaz is the host of NEXTpittsburgh's Yinzer Backstage Pass video series. He is also an author, filmmaker, advertising copywriter, teacher, experiential storyteller, talk show host, gardener, kazoo museum curator and so much more.