GRAFTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State has purchased 1,175 acres of land on the Rensselaer Plateau. Governor Kathy Hochul said this acquisition will double the size of the Pittstown State Forest.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) purchased the land for $894,000 from the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance using money from the Environmental Protection Fund. The Rensselaer Plateau Alliance originally purchased 927 acres from Rynard Gundrum in 2016, and later acquired another 248 acres of adjoining land in three separate transactions with landowners.

“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,” said Hochul. “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 Rensselaer Plateau Regional Conservation Plan identifies several important wetland ecosystems in the former Gundrum’s land. The land is within the largest intact forest on the plateau and has hundreds of acres of forest ecosystems that are home to moose, bobcats, black bears, and many species of amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

According to the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, the Plateau covers about 118,000 acres in Berlin, Brunswick, Grafton, Hoosick, Nassau, Petersburgh, Pittstown, Poestenkill, Sand Lake, Stephentown, and East Nassau. Hochul said streams fed from this land provide clean water to the Tomhannock Reservoir, the drinking water supply for 135,000 people in Troy, East Greenbush, North Greenbush, Poestenskill, and Brunswick.