ALBANY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission recently acquired a 15.1-acre parcel of land to add to the 3,400-acre preserve.
The Commission purchased the property from a landowner that indicated they were interested in selling it late last year. This new addition adds to the 41 acres the Town of Colonie dedicated to the preserve last February, making up an area of nearly 120 connected acres of protected land in western Colonie.
“The goal is to fill in these pieces and connect them for continuity – lands adjacent to one another provide for species movement, public recreation and buffer from nearby development,” said Commission Executive Director Christopher Hawver.
Since 1988, with the creation of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, over 3,400 acres, spanning 3 municipalities, have been permanently protected as part of the preserve. However, more remains to be done. The Commission still needs to protect an additional 2,000 acres in order to assure the viability of the ecosystem. Protecting the land, however, is just the start of making the barrens healthy again. The specialized plants and animals there are fire-dependent, so the Commission uses prescribed fire as well a variety of other tools to conserve this distinct local treasure.
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is not complete; neighbors can help protect more land as well as support the restoration of this globally-rare National Natural Landmark. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is the largest open space area in the immediate Capital District, with a future goal of 5,380 acres. Hawver continued, “There are a number of additional properties we’d like to see added and protected from willing landowners. With our state and local partners, we hope to continue the momentum.”
The Commission encourages anyone who has land within the Albany Pine Bush Preserve study area, and is interested in selling, to contact Christopher Hawver at [email protected].
At approximately 3,400 acres, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve protects one of the best remaining inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals, including more than 20 percent of New York State’s wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, such as the endangered Karner blue butterfly.
The Pine Bush is a National Natural Landmark, Maurice D. Hinchey Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, National Recreation Trail Site, a New York State Unique Area, Birding Trail Site, Bird Conservation Area, and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area.
Characterized by rolling sand dunes and over 20 miles of trails, the APBP offers visitors many recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing.
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is a public-private partnership created by the state Legislature in 1988 to protect and manage the APBP and provide the public with educational and recreational opportunities. The Management Plan for the APBP guides all aspects of expanding and managing the preserve. The Commission’s goal is a preserve of 5,380 acres.