Save the Pine Bush, You can fight City Hall and win!

Willie Janeway Comes to Visit

Albany, NY - At Save the Pine Bush's November dinner, Willie Janeway, former executive Director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and current executive director of the Hudson River Greenway, spoke about his observations about the Pine Bush. Protecting the Karner Blues has put the Pine Bush on the map. An no one today would say that they are against protecting the Pine Bush. The question now is: what next and how much can be preserved. The concept of cumulative impact which Save the Pine Bush has raised in its court cases is very important up and down the Hudson. Now people are looking to preserve developed land in the Pine Bush, as well as undeveloped land. The challenge today is which strategies to continue to use and what changes should be made now that things have changed in the Pine Bush. Mr. Janeway suggested Save the Pine Bush get to know elected officials and possibly organizations in other parts of the state that are facing similar development threats.

Janeway told us "Don't stop." Look at what's been accomplished. There's been a lot of progress in the Pine Bush in the last five years &emdash; $20-25 million spent and 800 or so acres have been preserved. The Preserve is close to 3,000 acres and going for more.

The Environmental Conservation Law mandates that the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Management plan be updated every five years, and the Plan is due for an update now. Everyone knows more acreage has to be burned or the Pine Bush will end up as an American hardwood forest. The big question is how to burn adequately.

Is there a place for a landfill in the Pine Bush? The old landfill is worrisome; it has no liner. The answer is a landfill should not be sited anywhere near an aquifer.

On the question of "manageable acreage" in the Pine Bush &emdash; Mr. Janeway said there are about 2000 acres now. But, fire manageable acres are not the only criteria for protecting Pine Bush ecosystem. Continuity is important, protection of endangered species is important, protection of critical pieces is important, fire is important, buffers are needed. Why 2000 acres? It's related to how much can be burned in a year, how much in ten years. But, remember, the Pine Bush is more than the Karner Blue and other rare species. This pine barrens is unique in the world. In making a plan, each parcel has to be looked at and what each parcel can contribute is part of the ranking of the different parcels. The question: to go westward, to build up the middle of the area. Not enough is known about the Pine Bush even to know what is valuable, what is the most valuable.

The Pine Bush is a part of the Hudson Valley Greenway. Mr. Janeway told us that when he asked scientists to note the unique places along the Greenway, they always started with the Albany Pine Bush, which has put the Pine Bush literally (and figuratively) on the top of his map.

We thanked Mr. Janeway for his contribution to Pine Bush preservation with his six years as executive director of the Commission, and wished him very good luck with the Hudson River.

published December 2000/January 2001 Newsletter
Last Updated 11/30/00


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