Conserving Land • Protecting Resources
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Due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns, we are holding our 2021 Annual Meeting online through a special pre-recorded video presentation. The 2021 Annual Meeting presentation is available our YouTube Channel. While our video has a lot of information to share, it does so in a calm, quiet, serene manner...just what one would expect from a walk in one of our preserves. Enjoy!

Watch our virtual presentation HERE
 
This presentation includes:
  • An overview of RLT's 2021 activities presented by Bob Crowley, RLT Board President and John Winter, RLT Executive Director. (4:50 minutes)
  • Virtual tour of six land protection projects that became finalized in 2021 (see below for a list).
  • The 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award presented to David Hauber.

 

2022 Board Election Results
Thank you to our members for the overwhelming response to our 2022 online board election. We are honored to present the following slate of elected Board of Directors and officers:
  • Anne Burton (2022 re-election)
  • Carl Cipperly (2022 re-election)
  • Nick Conrad (2022 re-election)
  • Mary Greagan (2022 election)
  • Shirley Greagan (2022 election)
  • Bob Crowley, President (Officer, two-year term)
  • Kristina Younger, Treasurer (Officer, two-year term)

Land Acquisitions and Public Property Openings

April 2021, New Conservation Easement on Papscanee Island Nature Preserve, East Greenbush
This 156 acre parcel along the east bank of the Hudson River, located on 9J, features walking trails, wetlands, and woodlands. Rensselaer Land Trust, the Open Space Institute, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, and Rensselaer County joined together to return this culturally important property on the Hudson River to indigenous ownership – and perpetual protection. In April, the Open Space Institute conveyed ownership of the 156-acre Papscanee Island Nature Preserve to the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, while the Tribe simultaneously granted a conservation easement to Rensselaer Land Trust. Learn more HERE.

May 2021, Open House at Albany Hudson Electric Trail, Schodack
RLT's trail head and parking area in Schodack officially opened early this year during the winter months. We held a public opening in May to celebrate this popular new destination for bikers, walkers, and families in the Capital Region. RLT has committed to maintaining 6.5 miles of the trail by mowing and weed-whacking the shoulders of the path. Learn more HERE.

July 2021: Young's Bog Preserve expansion, Sand Lake
E. W. Birch Builders and Construction donated two parcels of land totaling 41 acres. Three acres will expand Young's Bog Preserve and a 38.5 parcel located across the street will eventually be another nature. We expect to add hiking trails and parking in 2022.

July 2021: Palmer Road Preserve Re-Opening, Schodack
This 57-acre neighborhood Nature Preserve, features a mile-long walking trail through woodlands with a branch of the Moordener Kill running through the property. Palmer Road Preserve was transferred to Rensselaer Land Trust late 2020 upon the voluntary dissolution of the Schodack Area Land Trust. During this past spring and early summer months our stewardship crew worked to clean-up and mark trails for the re-opening on July 31. Learn more HERE.

October 2021: Moon Hill, Petersburgh
The 191-acres Moon Hill property straddles the Taconic Mountains on its east side and the Taconic-Hoosic Valley on the west; and  contains a key part of the summit of the hill and forest corridors that link the Northern Taconic Forest with the Rensselaer Plateau Forest. Hill Hollow Brook, a remote tributary of the Little River also runs through the property. There is a high degree of biodiversity here, including several rare plants. The acquisition was supported by the Nature Conservancy's Climate Resiliency Grant Program. We expect to add hiking trails and parking in 2022.

Tamarac Road Land, Pittstown
In October we closed on the 82-acre Tamarac Road Property in Pittstown. This land was protected through NYDEC's Water Quality Improvement Program – a grant-based initiative to conserve through land acquisition, land in the Tomhannock Reservoir watershed and protect the quality of the drinking water source for 135,000 + people. The Rensselaer Plateau Alliance and the Agricultural Stewardship Association are partners in this program, a cornerstone of which is direct landowner outreach and education.

The Tamarac Road Property features 53+ acres of open space and 29+ acres wetlands. This property is forested and includes former agriculture land. The Sunkauissia Creek runs through the property.

 

Stewardship Activities

  • In April we welcomed Marcos Velazquez as our new Stewardship Coordinator.
  • Storm damage repairs at Staalesen Preserve (YouTube) and Kinderhook Creek
  • Invasive species removal at Staalesen Preserve with corporate partners Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
  • Added a memorial bench called "Sally's Rest" at Robert Ingalls Preserve, which overlooks the Black Creek. Named in memory of Bob Ingalls' mother.
  • All the kiosks have been updated with new weatherproof informational panels.
  • All public preserve trails have been clearly marked and measured so we could develop new trail maps.
  • Donation receptacles have been added at several of our public preserves.
  • Created a new maintenance plan for RLT's 6.5 mile stretch of the Albany Hudson Electric Trail. The maintenance coordinator is Tom Phillips, RLT board member.

spring Papscanee Island Nature Preserve AndyArthur.org

Papscanee Island Nature Preserve. Photo Credit: www.andyarthur.org


RLT, the Open Space Institute, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, and Rensselaer County have joined together to return a culturally important property on the Hudson River to indigenous ownership – and perpetual protection. In late April, the Open Space Institute conveyed ownership of the 156-acre Papscanee Island Nature Preserve to the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, while the Tribe simultaneously granted a conservation easement to RLT. Rensselaer County will maintain the preserve on behalf of the Tribe, which is now located in Wisconsin.

Located on the east bank of the Hudson River in East Greenbush and Schodack, the preserve features walking trails through floodplain wetlands and woodlands and is home to several endangered species. The land holds great cultural significance to the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, which is part of the Mohican Nation. The property is known to contain significant archaeological resources from the time when the Mohicans lived there and from later Euro-American periods. We look forward to working with the Tribe and Rensselaer County on joint programming at the preserve. For more information see the following:

Shannon Holsey Stockbridge Munsee Community President

For indigenous peoples, ancestral land holds meaning beyond ownership. Papscanee Island is part of our homeland, and it’s interwoven into who we are. All of our songs and our stories and our language derive from our homeland and allow us to be closely connected to our ancestors’.
     - Shannon Holsey, Stockbridge-Munsee Community President.

AHET December 2020 Opening Update 1On December 30, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail (AHET), a 36-mile bicycling and hiking route from the City of Rensselaer in Rensselaer County to the Town of Greenport in Columbia County, is complete and open to the public. The Hudson River Valley Greenway constructed the project, which is part of the statewide Empire State Trail. Most of the AHET Trail is an off-road “rail trail” built on an historic electric trolley corridor, now owned by National Grid which donated authorization to NYS to construct the trail. The remainder of the AHET route is designated along public roadways.


NYS has created a comprehensive Empire State Trail website which provides detailed AHET trail segment descriptions: https://empiretrail.ny.gov/. The website includes an online map allowing visitors to zoom in to see the precise trail route, including asphalt and stonedust trail sections, on-road connections, designated parking areas, and nearby attractions.

Read more: Albany-Hudson Electric Trail Opens to the Public!

The Rensselaer Land Trust is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Palmer Road Preserve in Schodack, New York from the Schodack Area Land Trust. The 57-acre property was transferred to Rensselaer Land Trust upon the voluntary dissolution of the Schodack Area Land Trust.

Located in a residential community near Miller Road in Schodack, the property features an extensive walking trail system that the Schodack Area Land Trust maintained over many years. The wooded parcel is one of the sources of the Mordener Kill and is home to a diverse collection of plants and animals.

The Palmer Road Preserve will add to RLT’s growing network of neighborhood nature preserves in Rensselaer County. RLT’s goal is to create a diverse collection of publicly accessible properties within a ten-minute drive of everyone in a municipality. These properties will complement existing parks and protected areas and provide places for local residents and visitors to enjoy nature and hopefully inspire them to protect it.

Read more: Rensselaer Land Trust Acquires Palmer Road Preserve from Schodack Area Land Trust

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