Friday, March 20, 2009

Rensselaer Plateau Gets Overdue Respect

Submitted by Dan Hendrick on Wed, 2009-03-18 18:02.

Since it was founded two years ago, the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance has been working on a plan to set aside protected corridors connecting the most environmentally important portions of the area.

Only small portions of the Rensselaer Plateau currently enjoy protections.These 105,000 acres of high country in eastern Renselaer County, bounded roughly by Route 7 to the north and Route 43 to the south, comprise the fifth largest intact forest left in New York State.

"The biggest natural treasure of the entire region is hiding in plain sight, Alliance founder James Bonesteel, a Stephentown software engineer, said in a recent interview with the Times Union. "We are only about 30 minutes by car from Albany, and development is slowly creeping out here."

Rensselaer Plateau encompasses Tibbets State Forest in Hoosick, Pittstown State Forest in Pittstown, Grafton Lakes State Park, Dyken Pond Center, the Capital District Wildlife Management Area and Cherry Plain State Park in Berlin. The headwaters of seven Hudson River tributaries originate in the Plateau, including those that fill the Tomhannock Reservoir, which supplies water Troy and several other county communities.

County and municipal officials support the idea. "We are seeing a significant increase in the larger developments coming to Nassau," said David Fleming, supervisor of the Rensselaer town. "We had building permits for 72 houses last year, and for us, that is a lot."

Bonesteel said the Alliance's goal is to provide a mosaic of protected land, working forest and good stewardship of privately owned land.

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NYLCV Blog | Filed Under: Land Use,Rensselaer, Capital District

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