Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission Proposes a New Plan – Mark October 18 to Attend Hearing

Maps available: A new graphic Pine Bush trail map is now available. The new map was produced using a Global Positioning System to record trail locations. The brochure includes a mural depicting many of the typical plants and animals, interpretive information and a summary of the Preserve’s public use rules and regulations. The Preserve guide and trail map can be obtained from the Albany Pine Bush office or at trailhead kiosks. (785-1800).

Preserve Regulations: BICYCLES may only travel on the official marked trails. No off trail travel, including fire breaks or any other unofficial paths. HORSES may only travel on the official marked trails. No off trail travel. HIKING/SKIING may travel on the official, marked trails. No travel on firebreaks or any other path is permitted. PETS must be on a leash at all times.

Studying the Pine Bush: The US Forest Service and UMASS Amherst are working on projects including: invasive plant influence on natural fire regimes, development of a customized fuel model for pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, bryophyte species abundance. A graduate SUNY-ESF student is investigating butterfly and moth diversity throughout Glacial Lake Albany. The NYS Museum has expanded its carnivore study, looking at overall carnivore populations, small mammal populations, small mammal predation of native plant seeds and a feral cat survey. Preliminary results from Union College-APB black locust research reveals that locust does significantly alter soil chemistry and suggests that soil chemistry may be rapidly restored following locust removal. Two SUNY Albany graduate students are researching breeding season bird habitat relationships in the Preserve and wild blue lupine genetics throughout Glacial Lake Albany, respectively. All of these projects will add to our understanding of the Pine Bush and enhance the Commission’s management of it.

The Blues: Karner blue butterfly numbers are up from the year 2000. Analysis of the 2001 data from the Apollo Drive Restoration Project (which is turning a parking lot into Pine Bush) has indicated that the five-year goal of establishing 10,000 lupine stems has been achieved in three years. Results show that approximately 10,000 lupine stems and an additional 10,000 lupine seedlings currently occupy the site with a corresponding increase in the number of Karner blue butterflies observed at the site this year. Fire: There were no prescribed burns in the Pine Bush this summer but a small wildfire on about 9.4 acres occurred in the Preserve on August 22 in the area between Apollo Drive and Kings Road in Guilderland. It was subsequently determined that there was a single point of ignition along an unmarked trail and smoking was the most likely cause. The ecological effects and impacts will be monitored over the coming months and the Commission is hoping to be able to conduct prescribed burns this fall.

Printed in the December 2001, January 2002 Newsletter