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With rich soil and abundant water, Papscanee Island has long been home to farmers, beginning with the Mohican (Mahikan) Indians and then Dutch settlers. Actually a peninsula that stretches out into the eastern side of the Hudson River, Papscanee Island, named for a high-ranking Mohican chief, can be seen from the steps of the capitol in Albany, six miles away.
Today, a part of the island has been set aside as the Papscanee Island Nature Preserve, drawing birdwatchers, hikers, kayakers, and picnickers. Scenic trails cover seven miles and include interpretive signs to educate visitors about the island’s plants, trees, and shrubs.
OSI began working to protect both the farmland and the preserve in 1989, when the descendants of the original Dutch settlers began to consider offers from developers. OSI’s first acquisition was the Webb Farm, home to generations of the same family. Today, thanks to OSI efforts, the land is still planted in corn by the family. Since then, OSI has made three additional acquisitions, including the 150-acre preserve, protecting a total of more than 300 acres.