See What's Underground!


Discovery Center

What is the Pine Bush?

The Albany Pine Bush is an inland pitch pine scrub oak barrens. This inland pine barrens habitat is similar to coastal pine barrens found in New Jersey, Cape Cod and Long Island. There are less than 20 examples of this habitat in the world. This is one of the best that remains.

How did the Pine Bush Form?

It was formed at the end of the last ice age—20,000 years ago. As a mile high glacier melted, a giant lake formed here (over 190 miles long!). Scientists refer to this lake as Glacial Lake Albany. Glacial Lake Albany eventually drained and the sandy deposits on the lake floor (laid down by the ancient Mohawk River) were blown into sand dunes which were ultimately colonized by plants. The Pine Bush once covered over 25,000 acres. Now there are only 6,000 acres remaining, 3,200 of which are protected by the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission.

What are the permitted uses of the Pine Bush?

The Preserve has about 18 miles of official multiple use trails for passive non-motorized recreation. Uses include hiking, running, bird or wildlife watching, mountain biking, horseback riding, hunting and fishing.

How do I become a member?

Friends of the Pine Bush Community, Inc. is an incorporated “501c3” membership organization formed for the purpose of supporting the activities of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission as stewards of the Preserve. There is a donation box in the gift shop. Find more information about becoming a member here.

Are there rooms or outdoor facilities that can be rented?

To find more information on Discovery Center Room Rentals click here. To reserve the pavilion at Rensselaer Lake please call the Albany City Clerk’s Office @ (518)434-5090.

Who do I call in an emergency?

In an emergency please call 911.

If you would like to report a rules violation or non-emergency problem, please call the NYSDEC dispatch center 1-877-457-5680. They can deal with any issue of any kind.

How do I register for a program?

View our programs on the Calendar of Events page here. When you click a program there is a description and an online registration form or you can call the receptionist at (518)456-0655.

When is the Preserve open?

The Preserve trails are open year round, 24/7.

When is the DC open?

The Discovery Center is open Monday thru Friday, 9am–4pm and Saturday & Sunday and most holidays 10am–4pm. Admission is free. Find directions here.

How do I get to the DC?

Find directions and a link to google maps here.

Who do I contact if I have general questions?

Find all our Contact information here.

How do I make a donation?

The Commission is not a non-profit but works cooperatively with the non-profit organization, Friends of the Pine Bush Community, Inc. to further conservation and education within the Preserve. Find out more information about Donations here.

Can we eat at the DC?

Food and beverages are not available at the Discovery Center; please bring your own refreshments to enjoy them outside, but not in the Discovery Center.