Visit the Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 518-456-0655 Mon - Fri 9a-4p Sat & Sun 10a-4p FREE!
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve contains one of the best remaining examples of an inland pine-barrens ecosystem in the northeastern United States. Of global ecological significance, this diverse ecosystem contains a variety of habitats, including fire-dependant pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, vernal ponds, red maple hardwood swamps, hardwood forests, and deep ravines. Development, fire suppression and non-native invasive plants threaten the long-term viability of the Pine Bush, which originally covered more than 25,000 acres between Albany and Queensbury.
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 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.
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve provides Capital District residents and visitors with an assortment of non-motorized recreational opportunities including hiking, jogging, nature study, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and mountain biking and hunting. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve contains nearly 20 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.