Location of Woodlawn Preserve in New York
|Location||Schenectady, New York|
|Area||135 acres (55 ha)|
The Woodlawn Preserve is the only patch of the Albany Pine Bush in the city of Schenectady, New York's Woodlawn neighborhood; it is home to some of the most biologically diverse parcels in Schenectady County due to the combination of swamp, wetlands, water bodies, and dune vegetation.
The low-lying areas of the preserve are wetlands while the higher portions are pitch pine-scrub oak barrens with some of the largest sand dunes found in the Albany Pine Bush. While the preserve has traditionally been a Karner Blue butterfly habitat, there are no current populations of the endangered species there. The preserve and neighboring lands in the town of Niskayuna are part of the Woodlawn Pine Barrens-Wetlands Complex, which is recognized by the state of New York's Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority conservation project.
The preserve was created by the city in 1969 as 135 acres (55 ha) of forever wild land, and is home to the headwaters of the Lisha Kill and numerous rare plants. It is the largest passive park in the city of Schenectady.
The city has been approached by developers many times regarding purchasing the land in order to build housing. Once, in 1993, 88 acres (36 ha) were requested in order for housing developments to be built, with an extra 27 acres (11 ha) to be developed as a park. This caused an outcry by members of the Concerned Citizens to Save the Woodlawn Preserve organization, who argued that such development contradicted the intent and purpose of establishing a nature preserve. In 2003 the Forever Wild status was still intact on the 135 acres (0.55 km2) but was again threatened by another offer of $196,000 for 196 plots.
A Quality Communities Grant was awarded to Schenectady in 2007 to promote the "preservation and beautification" of the Preserve. This coincided with the Preserve being added to the New York Open Space Conservation Plan. In 2008, a five-year plan was developed between the city and the state to organize the improvement of the Preserve.
In 2009, Schenectady County created 24 acres (9.7 ha) of protected parkland in Niskayuna within the Woodlawn Pine Barrens-Wetlands Complex, which was then deeded to the town. This was considered an important step in linking the Woodlawn Preserve and the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.
Other notable pine barrens
- Patterson, Jennifer (2007-01-25). "Grant to Aid Woodlawn Preserve". Times Union (Albany). Hearst Corporation. p. B3. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "Speak Out for Pine Bush Preservation". Save the Pine Bush. 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "2009 NYS Open Space Conservation Plan" (PDF). State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- Goodwin, Mike (2003-07-15). "Plan to Use 'Forever Wild' Draws Fire". Times Union (Albany). Hearst Corporation. p. B8. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- City of Schenectady Comprehensive Plan 2020 (PDF), City of Schenectady, 2008-04-28, p. 8
- Fitzpatrick, Edward (1993-07-20). "Woodlawn 'public' land OK'd for housing". The Daily Gazette. p. B1. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Schenectady Wins State Grant for Woodlawn Preserve" (PDF). Office of the Mayor, City of Schenectady, New York. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council (February 2008). "2007 State of the Environment and Annual Report - Environmental Advisory Council" (PDF). Schenectady County, New York. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Schenectady County Legislature Creates Parkland in Niskayuna" (PDF). Schenectady County eNews. 2 (3). Schenectady County, New York. July 2009. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-11-06.