Conserving Land • Protecting Resources
Since 1987

As of January 1, 2024, the Rensselaer Land Trust has merged with the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance. For all questions regarding donations, events, land, or other matters, please visit or call 518-712-9211. For questions about the merger, use extension 101 to speak with Jim Bonesteel. You can expect a new name and logo for our merged organization by Spring / Summer 2024 and a new website by the end of the year!

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Message from the President

bob Crowley

Another year brings another President’s Message. This might begin with a rerun of RLT’s accomplishments over the past year, followed by the initiatives planned for the new year, followed by a reminder that everything RLT does depends on generous donations of time and money, followed by a THANK YOU to all our members and supporters. 

I thought I’d focus on something different this time and use this message to remind us all of the truly remarkable inventory of outdoor recreation resources we have here in Rensselaer County and the ongoing conservation efforts/challenges that go along with those places.  RLT is proud to be one of a number of organizations working to maintain these conservation goals while providing open space for the public.  We’re all part of a diverse community working to make our environment healthy and, in turn, promote our society’s health through that environment.

Twenty years ago, the then Rensselaer-Taconic Land Conservancy (predecessor to RLT) published a 175-page “Guide to Natural Areas of Rensselaer County” which listed and described 35 natural areas/ parks/ preserves/ points of interest/ forests that were open to the public in our county. It’s interesting to note that only one RLT property, our Geiser Preserve in Taborton, was included on that list.

If we did that guide today (and there is an effort afoot to do just that) RLT’s properties would number 16 with 9 open to the public—but RLT is not the only organization contributing to this effort.  Hiking access has expanded greatly at our State Parks in Grafton and Cherry Plain, the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance has created its community forests, and let’s not forget Troy’s Riverwalk.  What greater natural asset could a community want than the Hudson River!? Moreover, there are many less visible but very important, parallel conservation efforts such as: RLT’s Water Quality Improvement Program (Tomhannock Rural Lands) conserving property around the Tomhannock Reservoir; the protection of the crucial watershed on the Rensselaer Plateau;  private property owners who wish to conserve their land through conservation easements; the weekly work of our volunteer trail crew . . . and the list goes on.

With all this comes the risk of taking these accomplishments for granted.  And we’ve seen recently how tenuous some of our assumptions can be.  It’s up to all of us to realize the work needs to go on and put that concept into action, whatever small (or large ) form that action might take.  Just as we each need nourishment, energy, and exercise to thrive, this is true of the outdoor assets of Rensselaer County. 

Let’s get out there and be a part of it.

Bob Crowley, President of Rensselaer Land Trust