Why This Is the Last Year for Pittsburgh’s Tree of Lights

The Point State Park tree doesn’t fit the site’s historical mission.
Treeoflight

PHOTO: DAVE DICELLO

After more than 30 years, 2020 is the final year for the Tree of Lights at Point State Park.

“Part of the historic importance of the Point is the view to the west and its location on the forks of the Ohio,” says Park Manager Jacob Weiland. “The design of the park was envisioned to create a memorial to this gateway through an open, unimpeded, dramatic view of the westward flowing Ohio River. The site remains as a place of significance to the events that framed the French and Indian War in North America.”

While the 80-foot tree is up for only about one month each year, Weiland says it still violates management practices concerning the historic significance of the site.

“Point State Park and our partners through the past 10 years have been reviewing our management practices and our management plans. We’ve been implementing management practices to protect our resources, to better recognize the historic significance of our site and connect Pittsburgh’s historical impact on our nation,” he says.

Park officials asked Duquesne Light, which has sponsored the tree since 1988, to relocate it to the city-facing side of the park. But the company found that “moving the tree would diminish its appeal and cause it to be overshadowed in closer proximity to Downtown.”

“We know this tree has brought joy to so many, especially those who come home for the holidays and see its bright lights after making their way through the Fort Pitt Tunnel or coming across the Fort Duquesne Bridge,” Steve Malnight, president and CEO of Duquesne Light, says in a statement. 

It will remain accessible to the public until Jan. 7.

“We hope everyone gets an opportunity to safely enjoy the tree one last time,” Malnight says. 

Categories: The 412