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Posts Tagged ‘Ripley Hill Nature Preserve’

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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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 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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