From fossils to revolutions to farmlands, the Capital District surrounding Albany, New York is a land worth exploring. On the northern edge of the Hudson River Valley, surrounding New York State’s capital city of Albany, the Capital District is a region steeped in layers of history and geography. Loosely defined by the lands of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Saratoga counties, the Capital District offers recreational opportunities in places like John Boyd Thacher State Park, which OSI helped to expand. Situated along the Helderberg Escarpment, a limestone ridge rich in fossils, the park has extensive trails for recreational activities such as biking, hiking, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. From the higher vantage points, recreationists can see panoramic views of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys and the Adirondack and Green Mountains.
Less visible but just as important is the historical importance of the lands in this area. Here we can find the roots of American history. Saratoga National Historic Park marks the spot where the decisive victory against the British occurred in 1777, ensuring the success of the American Revolution.
In the centuries since independence, farming has also been an important part of the Capital District’s history, although a shifting agricultural economy and a growing population related to a booming technology industry have forced many farms to shut down. In the past 25 years, 70,000 acres of agricultural lands have been lost to development and approximately 3,000 acres of wetlands have disappeared in the Capital District. In 1997, Farming on the Edge, a report produced by American Farmland Trust, ranked the Hudson Valley as the tenth most-threatened agricultural region in the country.
OSI has been very active in preserving farmlands and recreation areas in the Capital District, a region continually redefining itself.
In the Capital District, OSI has protected more than 4,000 acres, including nearly 2,500 acres of farmland. These examples illustrate what conservation can accomplish:
OSI in the Adirondacks, continued
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