Free Saturday Nature Bus Service Returns to the Capital Region

Nature Bus

May 12, 2022

Service to Run Every Saturday, May 28 through September 24

ALBANY, NY (May 12, 2022) The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC), the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), and local project partners have come together again to offer free Saturday CDTA bus service to connect City of Albany residents to eight natural spaces in and around Albany. The service will start Saturday, May 28 and run through Saturday, September 24.

New locations—including the Albany Pine Bush and City of Albany Water Departments’ Six Mile Water Works and MHLC’s David’s Trail at the Bender Melon Farm Preserve—give folks new places to explore and connect with nature. Service will alternate to different locations on a two-week rotating schedule and be geared towards programming offered at all locations. Location partners will offer free programming most Saturdays including guided trail walks, educational programs for families, and self-guided scavenger hunts. All partner locations have easy-to-navigate maps and well-marked trails to make the user experience fun and easy. All locations are free and open to the public from dawn to dusk. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult when vising Five Rivers.

Nature Bus will make four stops at the following locations on a bi-weekly rotating basis:

Starting May 28th and every other Saturday through September 17th

  • Albany Pine Bush and City of Albany Water Department Six Mile Water Works
  • Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm
  • MHLC’s Normans Kill West Preserve
  • Albany County Rail Trail Veterans Memorial Park
  • DEC’s Five Rivers Environmental Education Center

Starting June 4th and every other Saturday through September 24th

  • MHLC’s Normans Kill West Preserve
  • Albany County Rail Trail Veterans Memorial Park
  • Albany County Rail Trail Slingerlands Trailhead
  • Hilton Park, MHLC’s David’s Trail, and Albany County Rail Trail
  • Thacher Park Visitor Center

MHLC Associate Director, Sarah Walsh said, “We are thrilled to be able to offer Nature Bus again. This year has even more to offer, from fishing at Six Mile Water Works to hiking the Indian Ladder Trail at Thacher Park. We look forward to seeing folks take advantage of this free service to get outside.”

CDTA CEO, Carm Basile said, “We are excited to see the return of the Nature Bus. The overwhelming support and enthusiasm for the service is great to see. Providing accessibility and opportunity to our local communities continues to be a top priority. We are committed to providing ways to enhance transportation services and the Nature Bus is an innovative program that will provide services to communities who may not have access to these beautiful, nature sites.”

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC is once again pleased to help support the Nature Bus, which will allow City of Albany residents the opportunity to enjoy Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, a place to explore, appreciate, and learn about nature. The Nature Bus demonstrates that barriers to accessing public lands can be overcome with creative thinking, collaboration, and willing partners. We look forward to continuing to work with communities to find out how to better ensure New York’s public lands are open and accessible to all.”

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid, said, “Nature Bus continues to deliver on our goal of connecting historically underserved communities to parks and preserves across the region. John Boyd Thacher State Park offers patrons a world class nature education facility, trails for every experience level, and dozens of recreational amenities. This year, we’re excited to offer Nature Bus Riders a warm welcome with informational guides, educational programming, and a library for basic equipment like guides and binoculars. Thacher State Park is proud to join the Friends of Thacher and Natural Heritage Trust to make this program possible and we are enduringly grateful for our partners at MHLC and CDTA.”

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, said “We’re thrilled to welcome the Nature Bus back to multiple locations along Albany County’s Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and to so many other great open spaces the county has to offer. The beauty of parks is that they are for everyone and they play an important role in both our physical and mental health. However, not everyone has easy access to them. This free bus service provided by Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy and the CDTA is a tremendous resource that ensures more Albany residents have the opportunity to spend some time in nature this summer and enjoy the parks both inside and outside of the city." Funding for this project was provided from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Office of Environmental Justice. Nature Bus 2022 would not be possible without the generous support from Friends of Thacher State Park, Natural Heritage Trust, Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, and private donors."

Betsey Miller, Treasurer of the Friends of Thacher, said, “The Friends of Thacher have a long-standing commitment to expanding access to nature. We were excited to participate in the first year of the Nature bus service and to welcome visitors to Thacher Park. We believe the changes in the program for the second year will encourage more riders and therefore we are pleased to help this program continue for a second year.”

Executive Director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, Christopher Hawver said, “We’re so excited to join with our local partners this season as a new destination of Nature Bus. Providing free, reliable transportation to Rensselaer Lake/Six Mile Waterworks will allow many of our urban neighbors with opportunities to explore this eastern-most edge of the 3,400-acre Pine Bush Preserve.”

To learn more about the Nature Bus route, including pick-up locations and drop off times, visit the CDTA website or

To learn more about programming at Nature Bus stops, visit MHLC’s Nature Bus web page:

Additional information about Nature Bus partner organizations:

The 3,400+ - acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve protects one of the best remaining inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens in the world. This fire-dependent ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals, including more than 20 percent of New York State’s wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The preserve is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, National Recreation Trail site, a New York State Unique Area and Bird Conservation Area, and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area. With over 20 miles of trails, recreational opportunities include hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing. The future goal is a preserve of 5,380 protected acres.

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC) is a nonprofit conservation organization working to preserve the natural, scenic, agricultural, and cultural landscapes in Albany, Schenectady, and Montgomery counties. Since its founding in 1992, the Conservancy has protected more than 12,500 acres of land, including over 2,500 acres open to the public for hiking, cross-country skiing, and other educational and recreational opportunities. ­To learn more, visit

The Natural Heritage Trust is a non-profit, public-benefit corporation with the mission to receive and administer gifts, grants and contributions to further public programs for parks, recreation, cultural, land and water conservation and historic preservation purposes of the State of New York. The NHT accomplishes its mission by accepting donations, raising funds, and through cooperative programs and projects with its agency partners: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of State (DOS). For more information visit 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) manages nearly five million acres of public lands, including three million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves, 55 campgrounds and day-use areas, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails, and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches, and fishing piers. DEC operates two fully staffed Environmental Education Centers (EECs) offering classes and programs on environmental awareness around New York State. DEC’s Five Rivers Environmental Education Center draws visitors from the Capital District for family-friendly programs and school-based lessons. They also come to experience the wide variety of natural habitats, flora, and fauna found among the site’s 450+ acres and 10 miles of trails. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM, except for state holidays. The grounds and trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Public restrooms are available daily from 8 AM to sunset at the Guided School Program building. Five Rivers offers several accessible facilities and services. All amenities of the Visitor Center, Comfort Station, picnic area, Woodlot Trail and Nature's Backyard Trail are wheelchair accessible, as are several hard-surfaced interior routes. Wheelchairs, walkers and a battery-powered mobility scooter are available upon request. A charging station is available at the Visitor Center for mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs.

Plan your next outdoor adventure and connect with DEC on FacebookTwitterFlickr and Instagram.

Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm (TLPF) is a community space and 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for environmental education and justice situated at Tivoli Lake Preserve which is located in the Arbor Hill and West Hill neighborhoods of Albany, NY. Tivoli Lake Preserve (TLP) encompasses 83 acres and is the second-largest urban wildlife preserve in New York State (after Central Park).

Our Mission: Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm, Inc. as a steward of the Preserve, facilitates conservation, environmental education, and outdoor recreation. Our activities empower individuals and families to enjoy the natural world, promoting healthier and more peaceful communities.

Our work includes trail clean ups, livestock grazing services and a host of hands-on environmental education activities including gardening, composting, art activities, guided walks, yoga, and more. Check out our calendar to sign up for programs: @friendsoftivoli