At the same Town Board meeting where the Board passed a zoning
amendment prohibiting commercial soccer fields in residentially
zoned areas, the Town Board heard a presentation by its director
of parks about the towns own proposed soccer fields in
the Pine Bush. The zoning amendment passed by the Town Board
specifically prohibits commercial soccer fields, but allows
town facilities in residentially zoned areas.
The town proposes to build 10 outdoor soccer fields on the
100-acre site which the town recently purchased. Located in
the largest roadless area remaining in Guilderland in the Pine
Bush, this site, known as the DeCaprio Farm, should not be developed
as soccer fields, but left as Pine Bush.
Three parcels make up the western section of the largest roadless
area, the DeCaprio Farm site, the site of the proposed Lone
Pine 7 housing development, and the Lupe site (which has no
current development proposals). Located south of East Lydius
Street and north of Old State Road, this area is approximately
250 acres along the Hungerkill valley and is not bisected by
any roads. Roadless areas are very important to the ecosystem.
Roads, even relatively unused dirt roads, can prevent plant
and animal species from crossing from one side to another, thus
limiting the area inhabited by plant and animal species, and
limiting the biodiversity.
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission has labeled this area
"partial protection," which is supposed to mean that
some destruction of the ecosystem is acceptable. The Commission
supports partial development of the Lone Pine 7 housing project
and DiCaprio Farm, where some of the site would be developed
and some dedicated to the Preserve. However, Save the Pine Bush
finds this compromise to be unacceptable and would contribute
to the fragmentation of the ecosystem; this entire area needs
to be protected and added to the Preserve.
The Commission's "partial protection" designation
encourages the fragmentation of the Pine Bush ecosystem. The
unprotected Pine Bush is divided into many parcels, owned by
different people. Allowing each of these sites to be partly
developed and partly protected, creates a patchwork of Pine
Bush between acres of asphalt. The ecosystem cannot survive
if all of the partial protection areas are partially developed
in this patchwork manner.
The section of the DiCaprio Farm the town is proposing to dedicate
to the Preserve consists mostly of ravines and land that is
inaccessible. This area could not be built on anyway.
In addition to its ecological significance, the DiCaprio Farm
is important historically because Native Americans lived on
the site from about 500 BC to about 1300 AD. There are isolated
archeological artifacts on the site, which are important to
preserve. The Pine Bush is significant for is historic aspects,
not just because of its ecology. Too often, important historic
artifacts have destroyed by development, and the DiCaprio Farm
may become another such statistic.
The Town of Guilderland and the Commission have a wonderful
opportunity to protect this beautiful area of sand dunes, forests,
fields, and steep ravines carved by the Hungerkill and its tributaries.
Soccer fields and housing developments can be built anywhere
but the Pine Bush is only found here. Save the Pine Bush believes
that this area can and should be preserved, especially since
the Town of Guilderland already owns the entire DiCaprio Farm.
People are very resourceful; Save the Pine Bush is convinced
there must be a way to save the rest of this important roadless
Printed in the March, April 2001 Newsletter