Louise Keir Wildlife Management Area
Louise Keir Wildlife Management Area (WMA) consists of about 187 acres in southern Albany County. While much of the area was historically cleared and farmed in the early 1900's, it has since reverted back to forestland. The initial parcel was donated to the State as a gift in 1978, and additional parcels were purchased in 2004 and 2006. It is located in the Town of Coeymans, approximately 10 miles south of Albany. Designated parking areas providing access can be found on County Route 103 (Blodgett Hill Road). This parcel of public land affords multiple opportunities for outdoor recreation including hunting, trapping, birding, and hiking.
Habitat / Ecological Communities
There are two primary forest types on the WMA. Almost the entire northern half is a relatively young oak forest, while most of the south facing hillside is mixed northern hardwood-conifer forest. White pines are the predominant species here, invading the area when the farming ceased and the fields were allowed to re-vegetate naturally. The upper elevations of the property, which reach over 1000 ft, contain one uncommon natural community: a pitch pine-oak-heath rocky summit. This is a fire-dependant community. Because no fires have burned in this area for many decades, the pitch pine is being lost and shaded out by the white pine.
An assortment of wildlife inhabits the WMA including white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, gray squirrel, red squirrel, coyote, fox, bobcat, and songbirds.
Louise Keir is open to the public year-round and offers opportunities for many recreational activities, including hunting, trapping, hiking, wildlife observation, and nature photography. Horseback riders and cross-country skiers may also use the WMA, although the trail system is somewhat limited. There are no streams or ponds on the area for fishing.
The primary management objective for the area is to maintain the present forest character, and to maintain the presence of the pitch pine-oak-heath rocky summit community. A commercial timber harvest occurred on portions of the WMA in 2007. White pines were thinned to improve stand health and establish diversity in stand age and diversity. This also created openings in the forest canopy and released pitch pines from shading. Once mature, the oaks will be thinned periodically by selective cutting.
Rules and Regulations
Public use of this WMA is governed by 6 NYCRR §51 (Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 11-2101).
The following acts are prohibited:
- Construction of structures, blinds, platforms or stands.
- Cutting, plucking, severing, damaging or removing trees or other vegetation.
- Camping, littering, damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property.
- Use of ATV's, off-road motorcycles, or snowmobiles
All visitors to the WMA must comply with all regulatory signs posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation.