The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced that it has acquired 102 acres located off of Iowa Road in the town of Sempronius, Cayuga County. The property is bordered to the north by Bear Swamp State Forest and contains 2,275 feet of frontage on Bear Swamp Creek, a critical tributary to Skaneateles Lake.
Situated at the southern end of the state forest, the property also contains 26 acres of wetlands, diverse tree species including red maple, cherry, and spruce, and a well-maintained trail system.
Conserving the property will help protect Skaneateles Lake—the source of drinking water for the city of Syracuse. Ongoing efforts by the FLLT focus on securing hillsides in this area, known as the Skaneateles Highlands, especially those adjacent to Bear Swamp State Forest. Other protected lands in the area include Carpenter Falls State Unique Area and the FLLT’s Bahar Nature Preserve.
The FLLT intends to transfer the property to the state in the future as an addition to Bear Swamp State Forest. This is the organization’s sixth conservation project in the vicinity of the forest, which is identified as a priority project within New York State’s Open Space Plan. It is also part of an Audubon-designated Important Bird Area, hosts a popular network of recreational trails, and features extensive wetlands and rare flora.
“Bear Swamp is one of the most pristine wetlands remaining in our region,” said Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “Acquisition of this land is a win for wildlife, water quality, and outdoor recreation.”
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 26,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The FLLT owns and manages a network of over 35 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 154 properties that remain in private ownership.
The FLLT focuses on protecting critical habitat for fish and wildlife, conserving lands that are important for water quality, connecting existing conservation lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.
Information on the region’s premiere destinations for outdoor recreation, including Bear Swamp State Forest, may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a resource created by the FLLT to encourage people to get outdoors. Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.