Re the Dec. 7 "You Had to Ask" about the West Park "Deer": According to a naturalist who toured the park in 2004, the famed deer is an elk, as attested to by its hairy chest, among other things. It may have been part of a large fountain and monument to the Elks that once existed in the same park near lower Cedar Avenue, just in from of the Elks Building there -- or from some similar monument to the Elks.
In any case, a deer seems less intimidating for small children to sit upon than an elk. (My husband has a photo on his desk of our own three children on the "deer's" back in the 1990s.)
By the way, "West Park" was actually designed in 1868 as Allegheny Commons, public space for the citizens of Allegheny City that had previously served as common grazing land. Now it's Pittsburgh's oldest park, it includes more than 80 species of trees and it's in the midst of a restoration that will make it a showcase of urban public space.
Glad you mentioned it!
-- Christina Schmidlapp, Project Director
Allegheny Commons Restoration, North Side Leadership Conference
Our story "Into the Woods Today" [Dec. 20] should have noted that Congress will approve the U.S. Forest Service's wilderness designations only. The rest of the March 2007 Allegheny National Forest plan will be approved by the agency itself, with appeals available to the Service's regional forester in Wisconsin.