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Archive for the ‘Emerald Necklace’ Category

By Charley Hannagan, Syracuse.com,link to original post

The Spafford Town Board is discussing a Finger Lakes Land Trust plan to buy 205 acres from the Burns family on Route 41 to create hiking trails at the southern end of Skaneateles Lake.

A waterfall on Randall Creek is part of the property the Finger Lakes Land Trust plans to buy from the Burns family in Spafford to create hiking trails at the southern end of Skaneateles Lake. (Courtesy Andy Zepp)

A waterfall on Randall Creek is part of the property the Finger Lakes Land Trust plans to buy from the Burns family in Spafford to create hiking trails at the southern end of Skaneateles Lake. (Courtesy Andy Zepp)

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has an agreement to buy the property from Bill and Leonard Burns. “It’s the linchpin property in our goal to create a greenbelt along the south of Skaneateles Lake,” said Andy Zepp, executive director of the land trust. “There’s a lot of it rugged woodland. It includes small meadows and agricultural areas that provide wonderful lake views, and a waterfall on Randall Creek.”

The town board must make sure the plan conforms to local zoning laws enacted in 2010 and a state environmental review. The board was to discuss the plan Thursday night and a public hearing on the project will likely be held in mid-August, said town Supervisor Webb Stevens.

Zepp is hopeful the town will approve the project soon and that the trust can buy the land within two months. The Burns family will continue to farm the rest of the 600 acres they own nearby, he said.

Map of the land the Finger Lakes Land Trust hopes to buy from the Burns family in Spafford. Courtesy Karen Edelstein

Map of the land the Finger Lakes Land Trust hopes to buy from the Burns family in Spafford. Courtesy Karen Edelstein

The majority of the land is located on the west side of Route 41 near a scenic overlook. About five acres on the east side of the road will be part of a 4,000 foot-long corridor that will connect the property to the Ripley Hill Nature Preserve, a 130-acre preserve owned by the Central New York Land Trust.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust plans to demolish an abandoned house on the property, build a 12-car parking lot, build interpretive kiosks and create a 1.5 mile loop trail over the more rugged sections of the property, Zepp said. A second trail of a little more than a mile would be built to connect the property to Ripley Hill, he said.

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by David Hill, Ithaca Journal, click here for original post & VIDEOS of building the trail as well as the completed trail

NEW Emerald Necklace boardwalk in Dresden NY.

NEW Emerald Necklace boardwalk in Dresden NY.

They call it the Emerald Necklace, a belt of green connecting 50,000 acres of public and preserved land in an arc around Ithaca, from the Finger Lakes National Forest near Trumansburg in the west to near the Dryden village limits in the east.

And on Friday, the Finger Lakes Land Trust held a grand opening for the first link of the dreamed-of greenbelt. The Ithaca-based nonprofit bought 169 acres along Irish Settlement Road, between Hammond Hill State Forest to the north and its own Roy H. Park Preserve to the south, in November 2010. The site also abuts the Cornell Plantations’ Slaterville 600 natural area. Together, the lands comprise 7,500 acres of publicly accessible and preserved wooded and open space.

There are bigger parts, such as the Connecticut Hill State Wildlife Management area in Newfield. But the site celebrated Friday is the first link the Land Trust has built. It was able to act quickly when the property came on the market because of donations from an array of individuals, businesses and organizations, Executive Director Andrew Zepp said at an informal ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

Also speaking: Ken Lynch, regional director of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, who said the land is an example of the kind of links the state is beginning to aim for; Tompkins County Legislature Chairwoman Martha Robertson, D-Dryden, whom Zepp thanked as an individual conservationist and in her role with the county, which provided grants through its open-space and tourism-promotion programs; and Mary Ann Sumner, supervisor of the Town of Dryden.

Robertson said such lands draw both tourists and permanent residents. “It’s so critical to everything about why we live here, why we choose this place,” Robertson said. “This is the legacy that you all have created today that generations from now will enjoy.”

This past winter, the Land Trust built a hiking trail linked to the 20-mile multi-use trail network in Hammond Hill.

The Land Trust also acquired land across Irish Settlement Road from the Park Preserve that it plans to deed to the state as an expansion of Yellow Barn State Forest, Zepp said, and it may one day be possible to hike across all of them into a preserve along Ellis Hollow Creek Road.

Linking preserves on the whole arc may prove a challenge, as valley development blocks the most direct connections, but the Land Trust will persevere, Zepp said. “That’s the scope of this project,” he said. “We’re in it for the long haul. This is just one of the links in the Emerald Necklace.”

Zepp also announced memorials at the site. The trail and boardwalk will be named “Howard’s Walk” after Howard Hartnett, an active conservationist who recently died. An educational kiosk at the entrance will be named in honor of Ed Thompson, an Ithaca native whose siblings James, Bill, Mark and Ellen Fowler contributed in his honor. The overlook will be named in honor of Matthew Ruppert, whose family has supported the Land Trust.

To hike other local trails, pick up a copy of the guidebook “Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.”

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Auburn Citizen, link to original post

The Finger Lakes Land Trust launched an effort to create a greenbelt of undeveloped lands that will ultimately extend around the southern half of Skaneateles Lake, ensuring the integrity of the area’s scenic landscapes and also helping to maintain Skaneateles’ and the city of Syracuse’s drinking water supply.

The project was launched with the recent donation of a conservation easement on 31 acres of mature woodland overlooking the lake by landowners John and Robin Hinchcliff. The Land Trust has also successfully negotiated a contract to purchase 200 adjacent acres from Bill and Leonard Burns. Both properties are located in the town of Spafford.

The Hinchcliff conservation easement ensures that a steep, forested hillside overlooking Skaneateles Lake will remain undeveloped. The property includes frontage on Randall Gulf Creek – a significant tributary to the Lake. Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership, and on the tax rolls.

“This land has been returning to woodlands for almost a century,” says easement donor John Hinchcliff. “It’s been untouched for my entire lifetime, and much further back. He adds that “we admire the Land Trust’s long-range vision to build an emerald necklace around the lake. It would be a spectacular recreational resource and a great way to protect the area’s pristine woodlands and waters.”

The proposed acquisition from the Burns family consists of hillside forests and meadows that extend for more than a mile, overlooking Skaneateles Lake’s eastern

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes NY

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes NY

shore. The property features scenic views of the Lake and includes several rugged gorges, and half of Randall’s Gulf – a large ravine that extends to the lakeshore. The acquisition also includes a 4,000 foot corridor that links the larger parcel to the nearby Ripley Hill Nature Preserve, which is owned by the Central New York Land Trust. The property is located near the Land Trust’s 130-acre High Vista Nature Preserve.

Once acquired, the Land Trust intends to develop a network of hiking trails on the land along with a parking area, scenic overlook, and on-site interpretation of the land’s natural and agricultural history. A $1 million fundraising goal has been set for the project to cover the cost of acquisition, as well as site improvements, and long-term management.

Take Your Bike - Finger Lakes

Take Your Bike – Finger Lakes

The Land Trust has completed five other projects within the proposed greenbelt, which extends from the mouth of Bear Swamp Creek on the west side of the lake to the Staghorn Cliffs on the east side. The area is widely recognized for its spectacular scenery and much of it is also recognized by the National Audubon Society as one of New York’s Important Bird Areas. In its relatively undeveloped state, the greenbelt also plays a vital role in helping to maintain water quality within

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

Skaneateles Lake. Recreational resources include the extensive multi-use trails for Bear Swamp State Forest, popular Carpenter’s Falls and undeveloped shoreline that is enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

“The steep slopes cradling the lake and Grout Brook are critically important to the lake’s ecosystem,” says retired SUNY-ESF lake scientist and Land Trust board member Bob Werner. “Add to that the idea of an emerald necklace wrapping around the south end and you have the beginnings of a vision for the future of this wonderful area.”

To hike, bike, or explore waterfalls mentioned here, pick up guidebooks from Footprint Press.

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by Dave Henderson, Ithaca Journal, link to original post

A donation from a local family has resulted in 21 acres in Tompkins County being added to Shindagin Hollow State Forest. The property, located in Caroline, was donated by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, which received it from the Douglas Fitchen family.

The property is within one of the county’s largest blocks of contiguous forests and features trees that are more than 150 years old and several uncommon plants.

Located within the “Emerald Necklace,” an arc of forested hills and valleys extending from the Ithaca area, the property met state’s and the Land Trust’s definitions of land important to preserve.

The property represents part of a 101-acre parcel the Land Trust received as a gift from the Fitchens, who donated the land in their father’s name. The remaining 80 acres will be sold with a perpetual conservation easement providing for sustainable timber harvest and the construction of a single home. Further subdivision is prohibited.

Shindagin Hollow Forest covers more than 5,000 acres in southern Tompkins and northern Tioga counties. Its size and easy access from public roads make it ideal for hunting, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, bird watching and camping.

More information is available at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/64136.html. For more information about the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan, go to: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/47990.html.

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Finger Lakes Land Trust Public meeting – Nov 17
The Finger Lakes Land Trust will host a public information meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17 in the Danby Town Hall to discuss the future of the trail and other open space and recreational resources within the Emerald Necklace Greenbelt, which is a swath of forested land stretching across the southern half of Tompkins County.

Steward Needed for Eldridge Wilderness
The Nature Conservancy is looking for a steward for its 87-acre parcel on Troy Road in Danby, commonly called the Eldridge Wilderness Tract. Duties would include keeping trails marked and clear of brush, and picking up trash. If interested, contact Gregg Sargis at (585) 546-8030 ext. 34. (The Eldridge Wilderness trail is included in the guidebook Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.)

Danby Park Board Members Needed
The Danby Community Park Association is looking for a few dedicated members to join its board. If you live within the Town of Danby and are interested in the ongoing effort to bring a park and community center to Danby, send a letter of interest by Dec. 1 to the DCPA, 1825 Danby Road, Ithaca, N.Y. 14850.

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