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Kilbuck Township’s Vinegar Hollow purchased by conservation group as part of greenway restoration

A nonprofit conservationist group has acquired 46 acres of undeveloped green space in Kilbuck Township. Hollow Oak Land Trust has been working since 2015 to buy Vinegar Hollow, a wooded valley that can accessed via Ben Avon borough.

Vinegar Hollow is nicknamed after Civil War veteran “Vinegar Jake,” a resident of the hollow and producer of distilled liquids — including moonshine — during the Prohibition Era. Today, the green space has made a new name for itself as the linchpin for the Avonworth Greenway: a network of protected lands that the Land Trust has been working to secure.

The Land Trust’s executive director Sean Brady said acquiring and conserving these areas is important as it allows for connections between parks and nature reserves in nearby boroughs including Emsworth and Ben Avon.

“We really, really focus on trails as a way to get people outdoors, get people first-hand experience close to where they work or where they live,” he said.

Restoration in Vinegar Hollow will begin with an assessment of current trail networks alongside volunteer trail stewards. Brady said the initial focus will be working on trails where erosion and rainfall pose threats to the Ohio River’s ecosystem. More immediate changes to the green space include the addition of trailheads at the current Ben Avon access point and maps of the area.

Corrected: January 24, 2023 at 2:42 PM EST
Updated to show that "Vinegar Jake" was a Civil War veteran.