06
Aug

Now is a fantastic time to visit Nine Mile Run! We’ve been getting a few general safety questions from the public, and have a few things to keep in mind during your visit.

  1. While it’s tempting to let your kids splash around or let your dogs take a drink in the stream during a hot day, the water is not safe.

Due to our region’s combined sewer system, as little as 1/10th of an inch of rain causes sewage-contained stormwater to enter Nine Mile Run, in addition to other streams and rivers. NMRWA is doing our part by installing green stormwater infrastructure around the watershed to hold back some of the stormwater and keep it from overflowing, but there is more to be done. Stay safe, and keep yourself and your pets out of the stream, especially after it rains.

 

  1. Be sure to leash your dogs.

Not only is it an Allegheny County ordinance, but it is also a great way to protect the wildlife that call the Nine Mile Run ecosystem home.

Off leash dogs attack the possums, foxes, and raccoons that live in the forest; which is unsafe for both the wildlife and your pet. Off leash dogs wandering off of the trail are also detrimental to the plant restoration that our Urban Ecostewards are working so hard to foster.

 

  1. Be mindful of harmful plants that are native to the restoration area.

Poison Ivy

 

Poison Ivy is prevalent throughout the restoration area. Oils from their distinctive “leaves of three” can cause an itchy rash and blisters. Pets can also carry oils from poison ivy on their fur and pass it along to unsuspecting humans, which is another reason to keep dogs leashed and be aware of the plants around them.

 

Cow Parsnip

Cow Parsnip stems and leaves contain furocoumarins, a photosensitive chemical that causes rashes and blisters after exposure to ultraviolet light. Cow parsnip can grow up to 7 feet tall with rounded white flower clusters like an Alice in Wonderland Queen Anne’s lace.

 

  1. Watch out for ticks.

Pennsylvania has the unfortunate distinction of having the most cases of tick-borne disease of any state in the country, according to the CDC. In 2016 11,000 of the 36,500 reported Lyme disease cases nationwide were in Pennsylvania.

Here are several steps that you can take to make it less likely that you will be bitten by a tick while hiking this summer:

Stay on the trail when hiking through the park. Ticks are more prevalent off trail in Frick Park.  Frick Park is vastly overpopulated with deer, and the deer tick carries Lyme disease.

To prevent ticks from attaching to you wear long sleeved shirts and log pants, tuck the bottom of your pants into your boots, and apply repellants with DEET.

Check your body and clothes for ticks after returning home from your hike. Shower promptly after being in an area where ticks are prevalent.

Be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease, and seek medical attention if they occur. According to the CDC early signs include fever, headaches, fatigue. Muscle and joint aches. A rash occurs in 70 percent of infected persons that expands gradually to be up to 12 inches across, and sometimes resembles a bull’s eye.

 

  1. Stay safe by the stream.

 

Nine Mile Run stream is beautiful. If a downpour starts, you may be tempted to stay near the stream and take photos or enjoy the sights. Remember that during heavy rain events stormwater from watershed neighborhoods enters the stream.

The water rises surprisingly quickly and that flooding can be dangerous.  If you get caught in a summer storm leave the stream and head to a safer part of the park.

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