Friends of the Riverfront

Friends of the Riverfront


Friends of the Riverfront (FOR) is responsible for the development and stewardship of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, an urban rail-trail for 24 miles along the riverfronts of Allegheny County, and its continued expansion along the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio River corridors. Since 1991 FOR has been working to protect and restore the region’s priceless riverfronts. FOR is a pioneering nonprofit organization that has been involved in creating nearly all of the trails along Pittsburgh’s rivers. Through intense collaboration with community partners, government officials, philanthropic supporters, and diverse volunteer base, FOR works to transform Pittsburgh’s riverfront into a healthy ecosystem for all to enjoy.


Build safe, clean, and accessible riverfront trails as part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail system to create and maintain an outstanding experience for trail users while providing economic, environmental, and health benefits to the Pittsburgh region.

Strategic Plan

Friends of the Riverfront periodically reviews its mission and program goals to develop a strategy for growth and success in areas of land trail development and usage, river trail development and usage, stewardship, and special events.

Friends of the Riverfront Strategic Plan

Executive Committee

Damon Rhodes, President
Larson Design Group

Stacey Vernallis, 1st Vice President/Secretary
Retired, Goehring Rutter & Boehm

Steven Ayer, 2nd Vice President
Trail Advocate

Daryl Sherred, Treasurer
Price WaterhouseCoopers LLP

Board Members

Darla Cravotta Office of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald

Michele Fetting Nonprofit consultant

John Foley CDR Maguire

Cheryl McDermott Stowe Township

Cathy Rogers Aerotech Designs

John Schaefer PNC Bank

Lois M. Vitti Vitti & Associates, PC

Bruce Woods Duquesne Light


Thomas Baxter

Executive Director

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Thomas E. Baxter IV started at Friends of the Riverfront as a consultant in 2005 before assuming leadership as executive director. Tom focuses on enhancing the quality of the region’s riverfront and public spaces along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Tom is committed to conservation and restoration of the natural environment. He received the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania’s Trustee Award “in recognition of outstanding effort to further the cause of conservation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” and secured National Recreation Trail status from the U.S. Department of the Interior for the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Previously, Tom served as project manager for master planning of Point State Park, a position that reported jointly to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Riverlife. He has served multiple terms on the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and National Resources’ Trails Advisory Committee, and currently serves as its secretary. He is the treasurer of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance and is a board member of the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Mainline Canal Greenway and the Allegheny Trail Alliance. Tom holds a Masters degree in geography and regional planning.

Courtney Mahronich

Director of Trail Development


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 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

Jeff McCauley

Director of Stewardship

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Jeff McCauley, stewardship director, is responsible for overseeing the environmental stewardship and restoration of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Jeff coordinates more than 1,700 volunteers who participate in stewardship events for Friends of the Riverfront each year. He is an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certified arborist. Jeff holds a Masters degree in environmental science and management from Duquesne University’s Center for Environmental Research and Education and has his undergraduate degree in environmental science from Bridgewater College in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, Jeff spent a year in the Maryland Conservation Corps AmeriCorps program where he worked on invasion species, forest restoration and park management.

Rachel King

Stewardship Coordinator


Rachel King, Stewardship Coordinator, provides on-site coordination for maintenance events on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and Three Rivers Water Trail. She leads a volunteer force recruited by Friends of the Riverfront to help make positive changes and restore the ecological integrity of the Pittsburgh riverfront. A native of Northwest Ohio, Rachel graduated from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, VA with a BS in Biology. Prior to starting her role at Friends of the Riverfront, Rachel served as a PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience) Fellow at Tree Pittsburgh, where she worked as the Program Assistant and helped manage Tree Tender volunteers.

Adrienne Buka

Administrative Services Manager

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Adrienne Buka, administrative services manager, coordinates activities related to community outreach, communications, special events and program delivery. She is an Urban Eco Steward in the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association’s invasive plant removal program and stream surveying program with the University of Pittsburgh, and is also on the Pittsburgh Today Environmental Sub-committee where she provides consulting to determine environmental factors for regional benchmarking. Adrienne earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Policy and Advocacy from Chatham University.


Friends of the Riverfront would like to thank our foundation funders, government supporters, corporate sponsors, and nonprofit partners for your continued support.
The Pittsburgh Triathlon was created by Friends of the Riverfront in 1998 as a fundraising event that showcases recreational use of the rivers and trails. The Pittsburgh Triathlon, which is produced by P3R, includes the USA Triathlon-sanctioned bike/run/swim event as well as the Adventure Race, a bike/run/paddle in either a kayak or canoe. A Triathlon Sprint—half the distances of full-length international triathlon competition—also is available to participants. The swim portion of the Triathlon is held in the Allegheny River, assuming conditions of the Friends of the Riverfront River Contact policy are met. The Pittsburgh Triathlon has achieved Green Certification by Athletes for a Fit Planet each year since 2010. For more information on the Pittsburgh Triathlon, visit