Goat-grazing company scores deal to landscape city parks

PITTSBURGH — Goats could be grazing their way to Pittsburgh-area parks to do some landscaping as early as this spring.

On March 15, the Pittsburgh City Council voted to accept the goats for landscaping jobs throughout city parks.

Tree Pittsburgh and Steel City Grazers landscaping have teamed up to bring the goats into the parks.

According to Danielle Crumrine, executive director of Tree Pittsburgh, goat are ideal for tackling weeks on steep hillsides.

After seeing the concepts succeed in other cities, Crumrine thought it would be a good fit for Pittsburgh.

“We decided that it was a great idea to work with goats after we saw examples of it in Atlanta and in Washington DC,” Crumrine said. “Goats help us to clear areas where we want to plant trees.”

Steel City Grazers have been operating for just over a year. They are currently Pittsburgh’s only goat-grazing company, which rents goats to eat weeds.

“We’re really excited to be working with Tree Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy,” said Doug Placais, co-owner of Steel City Grazers. “This is an ideal partnership because the parks have tons of land that, in a lot of cases, need different kinds of management strategies and goats are a great way to accomplish that.”

Placais co-owns Steel City Grazers with his wife, Carrie. The couple has 10 goats in total - and one donkey.

In-between contracts the goats of Steel City Grazers call the Carrie Furnace national historic landmark home. Ron Baraff, the director of historic resources and facility at the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation, said that the goats have been doing good work at the landmark.

“We brought them in a little over a year ago,” Baraff said. “We finally found the right partners, the Steel City Grazers, to help us maintain this site. The goats just thrive.”

Beginning this spring, the goats will begin work in Mt. Lebanon’s Bird Park and will perform city jobs beginning in June through December.

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