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Rensselaer Plateau Alliance
and Rensselaer Land Trust
Take Steps to Merge

Together, we write from the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (RPA) and Rensselaer Land Trust (RLT), with good news for the land, water, people, and ecosystems of Rensselaer County.  


After years of parallel and collaborative conservation work, we are excited to announce that our two organizations have begun taking steps to merge. As you may know, RPA and RLT have explored merging in the past. Today, the time is right for both groups.  


As a merged organization, with the skills, knowledge, assets, and member support of both land trusts, we will be able to go even further on behalf of this land we all love. Joining forces will advance and strengthen our mutual goal of conserving the natural areas of Rensselaer County—and engaging a community of people who care as you do. 


Both RLT and RPA have incredibly dedicated supporters, members, and volunteers. We hope and trust that you will join us on this journey—and that together we will make even greater strides on behalf of our local ecology and our future generations.  


Next steps for our two organizations include due diligence to review land management, legal, and financial responsibilities. The merger itself will take a year or more to complete and we will keep you updated and engaged as we move forward.  


Once the merger is final, the new organization will undergo a rebranding process with input from our members and supporters. As always, your ideas and energy will help to guide the next steps for conservation in Rensselaer County.  


All conserved lands of both organizations will remain protected, forever. 


Great programs like Rensselaer Youth Outdoors, the Tomhannock Rural Land Campaign, and the RLT/RPA joint volunteer Trail Crew—and all the momentum built over the years for land conservation—will continue and grow.  


We’re excited about this new adventure—and the opportunity to increase the pace of conservation in Rensselaer County even more, at a time when it could not be more vital. 


If you have any questions at any point in this process, please reach out to Jim Bonesteel ( or 518-712-9211) or Bob Crowley ( or 518-659-5263) 


Yours in conservation, 

Deb Balliet Signature.jpeg
Jim Bonesteel
Executive Director 
Rensselaer Plateau Alliance
Deb Balliet
Outgoing Executive Director
Rensselaer Land Trust 
Fred M sig_edited.jpg
Fred McCagg
Board President
Rensselaer Plateau Alliance 
Bob Crowley.jpg
Bob Crowley
Board President
Rensselaer Land Trust 

About Our Organizations

The Rensselaer Land Trust was founded in 1987 with a mission to conserve the open spaces, watersheds, and natural habitats of Rensselaer County, NY for the benefit of our communities and future generations.  


The Rensselaer Plateau Alliance was founded in 2008 with a mission to work with the community to promote and facilitate the conservation of the Rensselaer Plateau’s undeveloped and unfragmented forests and other ecologically important areas.  


Collectively, the two organizations have conserved more than 15,000 acres of forests and open space in Rensselaer County. In 2019, RPA and RLT worked together to conserve the 76-acre Poesten Kill Bends preserve in the City of Troy. Both organizations have achieved national accreditation by meeting high standards for land protection, stewardship, and financial and organizational management.  

Frequently Asked Questions


When did RPA and RLT first begin discussing a merger?

RPA and RLT first explored merging 4 years ago. We decided not to merge at that time, but to continue to discuss and consider the possibility in the future. Today, the time is right for both organizations.


What will happen with RLT and RPA Conserved Land?
All land conserved by both organizations will remain conserved in perpetuity. Volunteer committees for community forests and other projects will remain intact. The new organization will continue all the great work begun by both organizations and ensure we can do even more for conservation in Rensselaer County.   


Will there be any staff or leadership changes because of the merger?
All of RPA’s staff and leadership will remain in place. Some members of RLT's Board of Directors will join the new organization's Board. RLT does not currently have staff.

When will the merger be complete?
There is still a lot of due diligence before the merger can be completed. There is no date established. RPA and RLT have been partnering very closely and will begin to act together as a single organization.


What will the new, merged organization be called? 
The new organization will undergo a re-branding p
rocess that will include community and stakeholder input. There is currently no new name selected.

I'd like to make a donation to one or both of these land trusts. Who should I donate to before the merger is complete? 

You can continue to support either or both organizations. Your gift will support the work that both land trusts are doing together. We hope that if you've been donating to both organizations, you'll consider continuing to do so. 


I have more questions or ideas I’d like to share. Who should I talk to?

Please reach out to Jim Bonesteel at 518-712-9211 or  

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