New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently unveiled the acquisition and now permanent protection of roughly 1,175 acres of forested lands connecting the town of Grafton, New York, with the Pittstown State Forest on the Rensselaer Plateau, as part of New York state’s Earth Week celebration.
“New York State is laser focused on preserving and enhancing open space, and the Rensselaer Plateau, just a short visit from the Capitol, provides a spectacular outdoor escape from Albany’s bustling downtown,” Hochul remarked of the acquisition. “Today’s addition to the Pittstown State Forest, more than doubling its size, will provide expanded outdoor recreational opportunities for locals and visitors while protecting valuable open space and unique wetland communities that define the Rensselaer Plateau.”
The properties were purchased by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) from the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (RPA) for $894,000 using money from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
“As Governor Hochul’s recent environmental budget demonstrates, New York State’s commitment to preserving the wild and natural spaces on our doorstep is stronger than ever,” stated Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos of the acquisition. “DEC is preserving these properties as sustainable working forests with year-round recreational opportunities for all New Yorkers. We are grateful for the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, The Conservation Fund, the Gundrum family, and DEC Regional Forester Bill Schongar for a shared vision to secure these lands and ensure they remain protected.”
The properties, both priorities under the New York State Open Space Plan and the Rensselaer Plateau Regional Conservation Plan, includes several vital wetland ecosystems. Streams from the land purchased also provide water to the Tomhannock Reservoir, one of New York state’s key drinking water supplies for several upstate New York towns.