About Us

Since its inception in 1991, Friends of the Riverfront has been a pioneering organization working to protect and restore the Pittsburgh region’s rivers and riverfronts after decades of legacy pollution. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail now encompasses over 25 miles of urban riverfront trails along both banks of the mighty Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. Through broad and diverse collaborations, we continue the work of providing environmental restoration, economic vitality, and public health benefits to the Pittsburgh region through the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.


Friends of the Riverfront Board

Stacey Vernallis – Chair

Steve Ayer –  Treasurer

Cathy Rogers– Secretary

Darla Cravotta

Michele Kanche Fetting

Hannah Hardy

Marla Meyer Papernick

John Schaefer

Bruce Woods




Valerie-Beichner, Executive Director. With ten years of nonprofit management experience, Valerie brings a wealth of knowledge to Friends of the Riverfront having a background in organizational efficiency and capacity building, fundraising, HR, IT and more. She holds expertise in green building and green building products, sustainable corporate culture, community and economic development, advocacy and organizational leadership. Prior to joining Friends of the Riverfront, Valerie worked at Conservation Consultants Inc. as Director of Operations and Analytics as well as Green Building Alliance as Vice President of Development. She also formerly worked at the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission facilitating a statewide energy efficiency program targeting municipalities. Valerie earned a BA in Political Science at Clarion University and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Robert Morris. An avid runner, Valerie is an assistant coach for a local Girls on the Run team and enjoys volunteering in multiple other capacities within her community. She and her husband, Chris, live in Leetsdale with their four young children.
Courtney Mahronich, director of trail development, implements the trail vision outlined in the 2015-2018 Friends of the Riverfront Strategic Plan, which includes extending the Three Rivers Heritage Trail along the Allegheny River corridor. Courtney works with public and private property owners, as well as partnering organizations to make sure the trial building process moves forward smoothly. Her duties include community outreach working with Allegheny County and municipalities along the Allegheny River. Courtney earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and her Master’s degree in Environmental Science at Point Park University
Kaitlyn Roth, PULSE Fellow, is a native of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, completed her undergraduate degree at Juniata College with a major in Biology and Communication Advocacy. During her time in school, she was involved with the Student Government, where she served as a co-chair and advocated for students with dietary restrictions. Kaitlyn was also a SURJ chair for the Intersections Coalition, an outreach coordinator for the Unitarian Universalist Union, and a member of the African American Student Alliance. Prior to joining PULSE, Kaitlyn served as a Newman Civic Fellow, an intern with Central PA SURJ, and a NextGen Climate Pennsylvania Fellow. In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys singing, hiking, riding her bike through nature preserves, and trying out new recipes.