Located within New York's Capital District, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve is one of only twenty inland pine barrens left in the entire world and widely considered to be the best example. The 3,200-acre Preserve is predominantly defined by gently rolling sand dunes that support an extraordinary fire-dependent habitat. Home to more than 45 New York State-designated Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, this globally-rare ecosystem also offers visitors 18 miles of trails for an assortment of non-motorized recreational opportunities including snowshoeing, hiking, jogging, nature study, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing.
Primary Access Points And Trail Heads
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve contains nearly 18 miles of official marked, multiple-use trails. Most trails are considered easy to moderate and vary from wide open sandy trails to narrow, grassy woodland passages. The topography is generally flat with gradual slopes up and down the natural sand dunes.
Wildlife Species Often Seen
Most appealing for its unusual vegetation and gently rolling sand dunes, the Pine Bush differs strikingly from the typical deciduous forests found throughout New York and New England. Surprisingly, for it’s relatively small size, the Pine Bush has more than 45 wildlife “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” of the 538 found in New York State. This includes 16 birds, 12 reptiles and amphibians, and 17 insects, as well as, two rare natural communities, and hundreds of other more common, but no less worthy species. It also supports more than 20 at-risk species that are either state or federally listed as rare or endangered including one of the most famous residents, the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Mammals commonly observed include fisher, white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, red and gray fox, and eastern coyote. The eastern spadefoot (a toad), hognose snake, and spotted turtle are among the reptiles and amphibians that can be observed in the warmer months. Designated a Bird Conservation Area in 2008, the Preserve also supports more than 90 bird species. Frequently observed birds include the eastern towhee, American woodcock, prairie warbler, indigo bunting, great horned owl, and red-tailed hawk. Watch for recent evidence of prescribed fire along the trail. Fire management is used to maintain the flora and fauna of the Pine Bush.
Best Seasons And Times For Viewing
Year-Round. Check www.albanypinebush.org for trail closures.
Don’t Miss This When Visiting
Located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany, the Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art interpretive center that introduces visitors to everything that makes the Preserve rare and adventurous. As the gateway to the Pine Bush, this LEED Gold-certified "green" building transforms a visit to this unique destination into an even more exciting exploration where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits, the interpretive Discovery Trail, and numerous programs on the ecology, natural history and cultural history of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center is free (there is a small fee for programs). The Center is open DAILY weekdays 9AM-4PM, weekends 10AM-4PM (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). For more information, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org or call 518-456-0655.
Identify And Describe The Management Organization
Established by the New York State Legislature in 1988, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is a unique public/private partnership that works with willing landowners and a number of municipal, state, federal and private partners to assure the protection, restoration and management of the natural and cultural resources of the Albany Pine Bush.