Town of New Scotland
Approximately 4 miles of trails over mixed terrain
The original 287 acre property was a gift of Katherine and John Barber of Seattle, WA in 2010. The property, better known as Wolf Hill, is part of the Helderberg Escarpment. In 2014 MHLC was able to purchase an additional 160 acres from Mark Warner, a relative of the Barbers, bringing the preserves total acreage to 447.
The property is named after Katherine’s father, William ‘Bill’ Keleher, who loved the property for many years. As a child, Katherine visited the property every summer with her parents. She especially enjoyed going to the site with her father and feeling the history of the people who farmed there on that rocky escarpment. Bill continued his stewardship of the property well into his early 80’s, when he would go down to walk it, or to “take care of things”, as he would say. Bill lived until 2003, spending only the last few years in Seattle. Even then he worried about his land.
The property was originally farmed. The earliest mention of a sale of the land was 1790. A few old cellar holes and wells have been found on the property, and stone walls ramble through the woods. Several old farm roads are still evident on the property.
The property is at the top of Wolf Hill (1636 feet) and along the Helderberg Escarpment. It includes part of the ridge separating the Hannacroix and Onesquethaw watersheds and has steep slopes on both sides of the hill. The steep slopes alternate with relatively flat terraces. In many places bedrock is at the surface. The shallow soil is acidic. Low bush blueberries are abundant. Other acid-loving plants found on the property include wild azalea and fringed polygala. The property was logged within the recent past and the remains of this activity are visible, including a large open area at the top and numerous brush piles. These will eventually become less obvious as time passes.
(This route is not recommended during months in which snow and ice may be present on the road.)
Take Route 85 to where it intersects with Route 443 (the Stewart’s will be in front of you.) Turn right and travel 1.4 miles, then take a sharp, uphill left onto Gulf Hill Road (just past the “Welcome to Berne” sign) and travel .6 miles to the trailhead.
The parking lot and kiosk will be on your left.
From Albany, take Delaware Avenue (Rt. 443) west through Clarksville. Make a left onto Cass Hill Road. Continue approximately 2.7 miles to Gulf Hill Road. Turn right on Gulf Hill road. This is a dirt road. (While it says seasonal use, it is open up to the Preserve.) At the fork (about a mile) keep left. Preserve parking area will be on the right after approximately 1/2 mile.