ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission recently acquired a 15.1-acre parcel of land to add to the 3,400-acre preserve. The Commission purchased the property from a landowner that indicated they were interested in selling it late last year.

This new addition adds to the 41 acres the Town of Colonie dedicated to the preserve in February 2022, making up an area of nearly 120 connected acres of protected land in western Colonie. Commission Executive Director Christopher Hawver said, “The goal is to fill in these pieces and connect them for continuity – lands adjacent to one another provide for species movement, public recreation, and buffer from nearby development.”

Since 1988, with the creation of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, over 3,400 acres, spanning three municipalities, have been permanently protected as part of the preserve. “However, more remains to be done,” a spokesperson for the commission said in an emailed statement. “The commission still needs to protect an additional 2,000 acres to assure the viability of the ecosystem.”

Protecting the land, however, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making the barrens healthy again. The specialized plants and animals there are fire-dependent, so the Commission uses prescribed fire as well as a variety of other tools to conserve the land.

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is not complete; neighbors can help protect more land as well as support the restoration of this National Natural Landmark. The preserve is the largest open-space area in the immediate Capital District, with a future goal of 5,380 acres. Hawver continued, “There are a number of additional properties we’d like to see added and protected from willing landowners. With our state and local partners, we hope to continue the momentum.”

The Commission encourages anyone who has land within the preserve study area, and is interested in selling, to contact Christopher Hawver at chawver@albanypinebush.org. To view the map of lands recommended for protection and addition to the preserve, visit the Albany Pine Bush website and click on the link to the Vision Map.