Poestenkill Community Forest
US Forest Service
The Community Forest is a 350-acre forested parcel located in Poestenkill. It provides for recreational trails for Plateau residents and visitors, serves as a demonstration area of best management practices for forest stewardship, and is a venue for a variety of other educational programs for adults and children. Additionally, the area is vitally important for watershed protection and wildlife habitat.
Forest landowner education programs will be offered on site through RPA’s Working Forest Initiative, as well as New York State logger training through a partnership with New York Logger Training, Inc. Partnerships with the Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center and local schools will promote service learning and citizen science projects.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest Program ranked RPA’s proposal No.1 nationally and awarded the organization a grant to cover half the acquisition cost of the forestland parcel. The award culminates two years of preparation, planning, and public engagement by RPA volunteers. Recently, Callanan Industries, a leading supplier of paving materials and construction services in New York to government, commercial and private customers, and the seller of the land located off of Legenbauer Road, generously donated $100,000 towards the acquisition. With the grant from the U.S. Forest Service and the donation by Callanan Industries, RPA and its partners now have two years to raise the remaining $150,000 for the project.
A 350-acre forest, in Poestenkill, New York, adjacent to 750-acre cross- country ski area; and proposed forest legacy projects; located within a 20- minute drive of Albany-Troy metropolitan area.
The forest consists of 95% forested area including a mix of hemlock, soft maple, hard maple, cherry, ash, beech, and conifers; 15-20 acres of open and forested wetlands; seasonal freshets, and brooks. The property includes an extensive network of old logging roads that will be the basis for a trail system, remnants of the colonial era Albany- Boston Post Road, and numerous stone walls that defined pastures and fields from a bygone era of subsistence farming.
History of the Project
The RPA organized a Community Forest workshop in November 2012 where experts in forest conservation discussed the history of community forests and how they relate to local and regional planning, community outreach, funding opportunities and economic development. Next, the RPA held a widely publicized public meeting in September 2013, inviting all local residents and interested people to attend. The meeting was intended to provide background information, to solicit comments and to invite community members to form a Community Forest Committee. This Committee, which has met on a regular basis, worked to identify a potential parcel for the Community Forest, brainstormed ideas about how a Community Forest could be organized and managed, helped develop a draft plan, and continued outreach to other community groups. Through this outreach, the Community Forest Committee has gained many supporters and collaborators.
The Community Forest Committee identified a potential Community Forest parcel in the Town of Poestenkill. In February 2014, on behalf of the Committee, the RPA submitted a Community Forest grant to the US Forest Service for acquisition of a 350-acre parcel. The RPA was awarded the grant, which provides 50% of the funds needed for acquisition. Callanan Industries, a leading supplier of paving materials and construction services in New York to government, commercial and private customers, and the seller of the land located off of Legenbauer Road, generously donated $100,000 towards the acquisition. The RPA closed on the parcel in November 2014 and is embarking on a capital campaign to raise the remaining funds for acquisition, start-up and operation costs.
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As part of our continued efforts to involve community members, RPA has established a public committee that helps steer the development or the Community Forest. If you are interested in joining or learning more, please fill out our form!