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Your Land Trust Was Re-Accredited
In 2020 Rensselaer Land Trust was re-accredited by the Land Trust Alliance. Accreditation represents RLT’s commitment to our community and the land by maintaining fiscal accountability, ethical business practices, strong organizational leadership, and lasting stewardship of the lands we have conserved. Our accreditation term runs until 2025. This was RLT’s third accreditation. Back in 2008 RLT participated in the accreditation pilot program and was one of the first thirty-eight land trusts out of over 1,700 in the nation to receive national accreditation status. 

 

Keeping Your Preserves Open During the Pandemic is Priority #1
We have kept all of your nature preserves open during the pandemic and they have been well-used. Public visitation to RLT nature preserves has increased dramatically as people throughout Rensselaer County and from further afield have turned to the outdoors for recreation, respite, and to strengthen their spirits. 

We know there has never been a more critical time to provide places to enjoy and appreciate the natural world in our beautiful area. Hard work by volunteers, board members, and staff over the course of 2020 enabled RLT to bring two new properties online – Featherweald Nature Preserve in Buskirk and the Albany-Hudson Electric trailhead in Schodack.

 

Featherweald Nature Preserve
A 45-acre woodland property located on a bluff overlooking the Hoosic River and features several miles of walking trails and a great blue heron rookery. To honor the wishes of the donors we have dual objectives at this preserve: first, we want to bring people into nature, and second, we want to protect the sensitive heron rookery. We will do both by welcoming guests year-round but limiting access to the rookery during nesting season in the spring and summer. The preserve opened to the public on October 25, 2020. We invite everyone to visit this lovely setting. To learn more click HERE.

 

The Empire Trail (Albany-Hudson Electric Trail)
On December 30, 2020, RLT and the State of New York opened a trailhead on the new Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, a 35-mile multi-use trail that runs from the City of Rensselaer to the Columbia County line. The trail is part of the new Empire State Trail that runs 750 miles from New York City to the Canadian border and from Albany to Buffalo. RLT’s trailhead is located across from Nassau Lake and offers vehicle and bicycle parking alongside the trail. The trail has become one of the County’s premier recreational amenities and is a significant economic engine. RLT partnered with the Hudson Valley Greenway in creating the trailhead and will maintain a 6.5-mile portion of the trail in Schodack. To watch the May 22, 2021 open house on YouTube click HERE.

 

Palmer Road Preserve
RLT acquired another property in Schodack, the 57-acre Palmer Road Preserve, after the Schodack Area Land Trust (SALT) chose to disband and convey the property to RLT. This preserve was re-opened to the public in 2021 after we performed maintenance on the trail system. To watch the re-opening ceremony with founding members of the SALT click HERE.

 

Commitment to Inclusiveness
We are especially excited about our neighborhood nature preserve initiative, which solidifies our commitment to ensuring equity is embedded in our land conservation work by creating green spaces in urban neighborhoods. We made a start on this program by purchasing an undeveloped seven-acre parcel in Troy earlier in 2020. We look forward to adding amenities to turn it into a peaceful sanctuary to be enjoyed by the surrounding neighbors. 

 

Putting RLT’s Conservation Plan to Work in the City of Rensselaer
A key goal of RLT’s 2018-2030 county-wide land conservation plan is to assist municipalities in better understanding their land conservation opportunities. In partnership with the NYS Hudson River Estuary program, RLT helped the City of Rensselaer create a natural resource inventory to help them better understand their natural resources for local land use planning. Read RLT's Rensselaer County-Wide Land Conservation Plan HERE.

 

Financial Planning During Unprecidented Times
RLT secured a PPL forgivable loan through the federal government stimulus program and with the help of a development consultant hired through a previous grant we adjusted our fundraising and outreach approaches to reflect the new normal in 2020.

 

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