Why did we choose old fields at Spring Farm and chestnut oak forest at Sam s Point as the first sites for prescribed burns?
Compared to most other areas in the Shawangunks, old fields and chestnut oak forests provide some of the less complicated places to begin our prescribed burn program. Old fields in particular can burn safely under a wide range of conditions, making it more likely to get days when the necessary weather parameters are available to burn. Burn crew members can also see across much, if not all, of the old field burn units, making it easier to observe fire behavior and to modify how the prescribed fire is managed. Consequently, prescribed-burning old fields provides the best place to demonstrate prescribed burn techniques and to develop a stronger burn crew as we reintroduce fire as a natural process to the Shawangunk landscape. In addition, Mohonk Preserve s Old Field Management Policy calls for maintaining the historic, open condition of these fields and identifies prescribed fire as a possible management tool.