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!


Rensselaer Land Trust is the recipient of two stewardship planning grants through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation totaling $85,000.  The grants are funded from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.  

A $50,000 grant will promote better protection of water quality in western Rensselaer County by identifying locations of non-point sources of pollution that may threaten human health. The grant will fund water sampling by citizen scientists and lab testing for enterococcus, a bacterial indicator of fecal contamination. Additional testing will be done at certain locations to determine the presence of hormones, pharmaceuticals, detergents, personal care products, flame retardants and other compounds that can impact fish and human health. Water samples will be collected from Hudson River tributaries in Troy, Rensselaer, North Greenbush, East Greenbush, Schodack, Castleton, and Sand Lake. Rensselaer Land Trust is partnering with the Hudson River Estuary Program, River Haggie Outdoors, Watershed Assessment Associates, LLC, and U.S. Geological Survey, with Riverkeeper providing technical advice.

The second grant for $35,000 will augment other funding for a Rensselaer County Conservation Plan, which will include an inventory and map of the natural resources and significant open spaces and landscape features of Rensselaer County, such as water resources, wildlife habitat, scenic areas, lands valued by communities, and lands offering resilience to climate change. This project will then assess which lands contribute most to these resources and features, and produce a Conservation Plan that will help Rensselaer Land Trust and others to focus their conservation projects where they will have the most impact. Rensselaer Land Trust is partnering on this project with the Hudson River Estuary Program, Hudson River Valley Greenway, Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, Agricultural Stewardship Association, Louis & Hortense Rubin Community Fellowship Program, Open Space Institute, and Ecological Intuition & Medicine.

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

Papscanee Island Nature Preserve. Photo Credit:

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.

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Our Full Financial Report Can be Found HERE.