Archive for the ‘Finger Lakes Land Trust’ Category

Written by Marci Diehl, Democrat & Chronicle, link to original post
Finger Lakes Land Trust acquires new properties to conserve for nature walks, birding adventuresIt’s some of the most unspoiled, spectacularly beautiful and ecologically important land in the state. And if all goes according to plan, it will be accessible to the public for low-impact uses like hiking, kayaking, fishing and bird-watching.

Take A Paddle - Finger Lakes  available at www.footprintpress.com includes West River & more.

Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes available at http://www.footprintpress.com includes West River & more.

In the past year, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has acquired two important pieces of land overlooking Canandaigua Lake and adjacent to the West River — the lake’s principal tributary — adding to the group’s growing list of acquisitions and conservation easements. The goal is to link a crescent of land extending from Bare Hill southward through South Hill to High Tor and the highlands surrounding Naples.

This is serene land that is teeming with wildlife, forests, waterfalls and flora — and facing watershed and potential erosion problems if developed. The proposal to create a Canandaigua Lake water trail and birding trail could prevent some of these issues for generations to come.

The newest acquisition is a 68-acre property that encompasses a 390-foot cove beach on the east side of Canandaigua Lake, along with extensive woodlands on Bare Hill. Last year, the trust acquired 13 acres adjacent to the entrance to the Bare Hill State Unique Area. And in 2011, Constellation Brands donated 64 acres of an abandoned vineyard in the town of Italy at the south end of the lake — land that the National Audubon Society designated an “Important Bird Area.” Over the summer, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will cultivate native grasses to create a grassland area connecting with the state’s emergent wetlands of the West River.

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes available at www.footprintpress.com includes Bare Hill & more.

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes available at
http://www.footprintpress.com includes Bare Hill & more.

The more that people can see land and experience it, the more connected they become to conserving it, says Andrew Zepp, executive director of the trust. The organization’s goal, he says, is to “work cooperatively with landowners and local communities to maintain the character of this area, while enhancing opportunities for outdoor education and recreation.”

Connecting these preserved lands to the DEC’s High Tor Wildlife Management Area is significant. High Tor’s 6,100 acres encompass habitats, wooded hills, cliffs and marshlands in the West River Valley — along with South Hill’s 1,000 acres of wooded hillsides.

And the West River contains one of the largest wetlands in the state — a popular area for kayakers and canoeists.

Bruce Lindsay has managed 700 acres on the top of South Hill for 43 years, and he sees some species actually returning to former habitats, including porcupines, black bears, coyotes, foxes and wild turkeys.

“Turkey vultures with five-foot wing spans soar above the hill,” Lindsay says. “On rare occasions, eagles are seen here. Goldfinch, blue birds, bobolinks and the rare indigo bunting fill the fields. It’s a birder’s paradise.”

The two southeastern hills of the lake are largely undeveloped. Naples resident Kevin Armstrong donated 32 acres of woodland in the area, on steep property along South Hill above the West River.

“There are many people who would see the land as something to be developed just for the views alone,” Armstrong says.

Lindsay, too, is passionate about protecting this land the Seneca people held sacred.

“In the 21st century, we still have an opportunity to ‘do no harm,’ ” he says. “There are vast areas surrounding this lake that still are pristine. The challenge is to do no harm for the future of pure water, appropriate but not unchecked development, and, yes, just space to enable natural beauty to be the essence.”

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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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Democrat & Chronicle

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes (includes Bare Hill) www.footprintpress.com

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes (includes Bare Hill)

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has acquired a 68-acre property that includes 390 feet of undeveloped shoreline on the east side of Canandaigua Lake in the town of Middlesex, Yates County. The property adjoins Bare Hill—a scenic landmark that rises more than 800 feet above the lake.

The parcel, formerly owned by Beverly Reed and her brother, Charles, was sold to the Land Trust at significantly less than its appraised fair market value. The Land Trust launched a fund-raising campaign earlier this spring to help pay for the acquisition of the property as well as its maintenance and upkeep.

The project is part of the Land Trust’s ongoing regional capital campaign that seeks to raise $5 million to protect undeveloped shoreline, sensitive stream corridors and other lands important to water quality, wildlife habitat and scenic views. To date, the Land Trust has raised 85 percent of the goal.

The Reed acquisition consists of separate tax parcels and includes two single family homes, which will be sold. The Land Trust’s conservation plan for the property includes creating public accessibility to the lake for low-impact uses such as kayaking, hiking, and bird watching.

This latest project will be the Land Trust’s third acquisition on Bare Hill. In December, the organization acquired 13 acres adjacent to the entrance to Bare Hill State Unique Area. In 2007, the group partnered with the Town of Gorham and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to acquire 96 acres of woodland bordering East Lake Road across from the Rushville water plant.

Take A Paddle - Finger Lakes (includes West River) www.footprintpress.com

Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes (includes West River) http://www.footprintpress.com

Elsewhere within the Canandaigua Lake Watershed, the Land Trust has acquired land and conservation easements to secure scenic farmland in the Town of Canandaigua, rugged gorges in the Towns of Naples and Italy, and woodlands bordering the West River and High Tor Wildlife Management Area.

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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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The Land Trust has acquired a 13.5-acre parcel located near the summit of Bare Hill – an iconic landmark on the east side of Canandaigua Lake. The property is located on Van Epps

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

Road in the Town of Middlesex, Yates County – adjacent to the entrance to New York State’s Bare Hill Unique Area. (Go hike this unique hill using the guidebook “Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.”)

The Land Trust identified the parcel as a priority for protection due to its location near the summit of the hill and next to the primary entrance to the State Unique Area. The organization intends to sell the property to the State as an addition to the Unique Area at some point in the future when funds are available. The property is entirely forested with a mix of oak-hickory forest and planted conifers.

Bare Hill is well known in the area as the scenic ridge that rises 865 feet above Canandaigua Lake’s eastern shore just north of Vine Valley. Old photos show that the area was indeed “bare” in the past but today it is largely forested, except for its summit which is covered with a mix of meadows and shrub lands. One Seneca legend has it that the writhing of a great serpent swept the hill of its trees and bushes until it was bare. Whatever the cause, Bare Hill is notable for its shallow soils that are susceptible to drought stress most summers.

The Land Trust was able to take advantage of this opportunity through a generous donation of funds from an anonymous donor who cares deeply about the future of Canandaigua Lake and its surrounding rural landscapes. This is the second project the Land Trust has completed at Bare Hill. In 2007, the organization worked in partnership with the Town of Gorham and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to acquire a 95-acre parcel on Bare Hill’s northern flank.

Elsewhere in the Canandaigua Lake Watershed, the Land Trust worked with partners to complete five other land protection projects during 2012: the protection of two farms in Canandaigua and a hillside meadow in South Bristol through the use of conservation easements (perpetual legal agreements that limit development while allowing the land to remain in private ownership); the acquisition of streamside wetlands in partnership with the Town of Canandaigua, and the acquisition of a 32-acre addition to the organization’s Great Hill Nature Preserve in the Town of Italy, Yates County.

source: FLLT web site

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By Rob Montana | Ithaca.com, link to original post

There’s something about taking a walk in the woods – something that brings out a peaceful feeling in a person.

Maybe it’s the elimination of the bustle of everyday life. Maybe it’s the beautiful views of vegetation and wildlife. Maybe it’s the cathedral-like canopy of the treetops towering above one’s head.

For whatever reasons the woods bring calmness, they can all be found at the Stevenson Forest Preserve.

Located just outside Ithaca in Enfield, this Finger Lakes Land Trust’s protected land encompasses 83 acres, featuring a trail slightly more than a mile long. The pathways to chose from include a section of the Finger Lakes Trail and the Stevenson Trail.

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

Getting to the preserve is an easy task, and there’s a clearly designated parking area on Trumbull Corners Road. A sign for Stevenson Forest Preserve greets hikers; off to the right is a marker denoting the presence of the Finger Lakes Trail as well. (The full trail runs 558 miles from Allegany State Park to the Long Path in Catskill Forest Preserve.)

Following that path takes one along a stream on the left, winding the way alongside a hilly incline to the right. A kiosk with a logbook and information about the Finger Lakes trail, including maps and tips, sits a short way into the woods.

The trail continues until it abruptly butts up against posted private property. A large log provides ample sitting room with a look at a rocky section of the stream, as well as a manmade grouping of large rocks.

The steepest section of the trail commences here, as it takes a 90-degree turn to the right, leading straight up the hill. This is where the path becomes less dirt covered, turning into a carpet of needles and leaves, unspoiled from the winter season because of the dense umbrella of leaves in the tall trees populating this section of the preserve.

At the top of the climb, the trail (it’s the Finger Lakes Trail at this point) – which is clearly marked with white blazes on tree trunks – turns to the right again. A short distance ahead the appearance of a blue blaze on a tree trunk – pointing to the left – brings you to the start of the Stevenson Trail. (The Finger Lakes Trail continues straight ahead through more of the woods.)

The suggestion here would be to take the Stevenson Trail, if only for what is found at the end of the path.

Taking the blue route, the trail becomes almost moguled and covered with tree roots jutting out, then evens out into a nice pathway again as one walks through the trees, these are much smaller and clearly less mature than the titans encountered during the first part of the hike.

The sunlight that is quite muted, save for glimpses of sky, during the Finger Lakes Trail section, grows brighter as the trail nears the edge of the woods. Leaving the woods, tall grasses line the path for a short distance, and then the path enters a small wooded section.

Almost as quickly, the wooded area ends and a breathtaking view appears, with tall grass stretching for miles, distant communities visible on the far-off hills. It’s well worth the hike to see the sight, and a bench – marked in loving memory for Martha W. Baldwin (1924-2006) and Peter E. Costich (1925-2005), with the logo of Troop 4 Eagle from Ithaca and the Finger Lakes Land Trust – offers a nice, high-backed place to sit.

According to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, the original 25 acres of the preserve were owned by the Stevenson family of Enfield dating back to just after the Revolutionary War. Thirty-four years ago, the land was inherited by Elizabeth Stevenson Bennett, who later opted to donate it to the Finger Lakes Land Trust after being approached by Michael DeMunn, a consulting forester for the Finger Lakes Land Trust at the time, and FLLT volunteer Betsy Darlington, who currently serves as the organization’s stewardship advisor.

The original 25 acres became the first section of the preserve in 1995; later additions of property in 1998 and 1999 increased the acreage to 83 acres. Those additions came thanks to Percy Browning, who bought land to donate it and added 18 acres to the total, and anonymous grant that paved the way for the acquisition of 40 more acres.

Among the vegetation visible in the preserve, according to the FLLT, are Indian cucumber-root, Jack-in-the-pulpit, starflower and horse balm. There also are several ponds in the preserve; the migration of spotted salamanders can be seen in early spring and wood frogs also may be spotted breeding in the ponds.

For more information about the Stevenson Forest Preserve, visit the Finger Lakes Land Trust website at fllt.org and look under the Protected Lands section.

If you go …
Acres: 83
Trail distance: Approximately 1 mile

Directions from Ithaca: Take Route 13 South to Route 327 North. Follow Route 327 N, and then take a left on Trumbull Corners Road. The parking area for the Stevenson Forest Preserve is about a half mile down the road on the right.

For many places to hike in the Ithaca NY area, pick up a copy of the guidebookTake A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.

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The Finger Lakes Land Trust received its 83rd conservation easement and second in Cayuga County after recently acquiring 127 acres east of the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

Owned by Kathryn Whitehorne in the Town of Aurelius, the property features 40 acres of wetlands, according to the Ithaca-based Land Trust. A small stream that flows from the tract enters the refuge. The property also includes more than a mile of undeveloped frontage on Laraway Road.

Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Easements are binding on future owners of the land and are monitored by the Land Trust to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement. Easement donors are eligible for both state and federal tax benefits provided that certain criteria are met, according to the Land Trust.

source: Ithaca Journal

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By David Figura/The Post-Standard, link to original post

The Central New York Land Trust (CNYLT) and the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) April 13 announced their successful partnership with landowner Janice Hinman to ensure the permanent protection of her hilltop property in the Town of Spafford, Onondaga County. The property encompasses 118 acres of field and forest located at the summit of Ripley Hill – the highest point within the watershed of Skaneateles Lake.

Hinman donated the land to the Central New York Land Trust with the understanding that the Finger Lakes Land Trust will hold and monitor legal restrictions that require that the land be managed as a public nature preserve. Both groups worked together to complete the transaction.

The Hinman property is particularly diverse, featuring a scenic hilltop meadow as well as hardwood forests of beech and maple, and hemlock dominated forests that feature an extensive network of vernal pools – seasonal wetlands that provide habitat for amphibians and other animals.

The tract is part of a growing network of conserved lands on the east side of Skaneateles Lake. The property is located approximately one mile northeast of the FLLT’s High Vista Preserve, (one of many placed mapped & described for hiking in the guidebook Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region) and approximately 4 miles southeast of the CNYLT’s High Hickory Nature Preserve.

During the coming months, the Central New York Land Trust will develop a management plan for the site, which will be known as the Ripley Hill Nature Preserve. The site will be open to the public for hiking and wildlife watching during daylight hours.

“This is an incredible gift,” says CNYLT Executive Director Jeff Devine. “Janice Hinman’s gift has not only established our 47th nature preserve but also creates our first joint land protection project with the Finger Lakes Land Trust.”

“We are grateful to Janice Hinman for her commitment to the land,” adds FLLT Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “We’re also delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the Central New York Land Trust to make this scenic natural area accessible to the public.”

The Central New York Land Trust is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting vital natural areas in Central New York for the health of the environment and the enjoyment of the public. Since its founding in 1972, the Central New York Land Trust has permanently protected more than 2,600 acres in a network of 47 nature preserves. For more information visit the Trust’s Web site.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust works cooperatively with landowners and local communities to conserve those lands that define the character of the Finger Lakes Region. Since it was established in 1989, the organization has permanently protected more than 12,000 acres of significant open space through the establishment of public conservation areas and the protection of privately owned lands through the use of conservation easements. Additional information about the Land Trust may be found at its Web site.

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Source: The Ithaca Journal, link to original post

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has acquired a 65-acre piece of land with 1,400 feet of undeveloped Cayuga Lake shoreline in Romulus and plans to combine it with an adjoining preserve and provide public access.

The land is on the west side of Cayuga Lake across from Aurora and Wells College and features frontage on both sides of the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway on Route 89 and diverse wildlife habitats, including mature woods, meadows and a gorge, according to the organization.

The Land Trust obtained the land from the Van Riper and Moran families, who made it available for what the Land Trust said was significantly less than market value. The Land Trust used gifts from several individuals and a low-interest loan from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation.

To replenish its acquisition fund and pay back the foundation’s loan and to pay for acquisition costs, public-access improvements and long-term site management, the Ithaca-based conservation organization has set a goal to raise $1.2 million. It had secured $900,000 in gifts and pledges, including a $400,000 grant from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Regional state parks director Tim Joseph noted that the state has identified public access to waterfronts as a top priority for land acquisitions, according to the Land Trust.

The Van Riper-Moran tract borders the Land Trust’s 15-acre Whitlock Nature Preserve, which has 500 feet of shoreline. The Land Trust plans a parking area along Route 89 and a hiking trail.

The shoreline has a modest bluff but is mostly level with a pebbled beach and is likely well-known to kayakers and other boaters who frequent that part of the lake, Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp said.

The Land Trust also has a conservation easement on 47 wooded acres on the other side the lake, in the Town of Lansing.

“Residents and visitors alike will soon have the opportunity to visit the shore of Cayuga Lake and see how it looked before settlement,” Zepp said. “There is very little undeveloped shoreline left and we’re grateful to the Van Riper and Moran families for deciding in favor of conservation rather than development in this case.”

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