No one's calling it an island paradise yet, but the 14 acres of urban wilderness in the Allegheny River near Blawnox is about to get a makeover. Naturally.
Purchased by the conservation group Allegheny Land Trust, Sycamore Island was previously treated as an unofficial playground by river users for decades. Boaters have stopped there, people have camped there, someone built a swimming pool there. Post-Gazette staff writer Don Hopey reported Sunday that the place had even been posted with "tiki" torches, now since removed by the land trust.
The cleanup is all part of a plan, which is still in the works, to reclaim the island for nature, exploration and recreation. Without the riffraff.
We're all for that.
The trust, with financial help from Colcom Foundation, bought the island for $250,000 in December 2007 with an eye toward restoring it as a sylvan gem. That'll take time, energy and volunteers. Meanwhile, the public is invited to hear about the initial biological findings of the island and learn about its management plan at a presentation Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Oakmont Yacht Club.
It will be tricky balancing the island's future public use with the need to preserve its natural habitat. But with 1,400 acres in 21 municipalities already under its protection, the Allegheny Land Trust is an expert at that. What's another 14 acres, even if surrounded by water?