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.
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.
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.