Finger Lakes Land Trust Completes Tenth Acquisition at Canandaigua Lake’s Bare Hill

Photo by Nigel Kent
04/11/2024

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) announced it has purchased 63 acres on the western slope of Bare Hill which overlooks the eastern shore of Canandaigua Lake. Located in the town of Middlesex, Yates County, the property represents the FLLT’s tenth land acquisition at Bare Hill, well known in the region for its scenic views and cultural significance in the creation story of the Seneca Nation.

The FLLT intends to transfer the parcel to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as an addition to the adjacent Bare Hill Unique Area. Through this partnership, the FLLT has protected a total of 322 acres at the site, beginning with its first 95-acre acquisition in 2007.

The addition of this undeveloped land to Bare Hill Unique Area will enhance wildlife habitat protection, help safeguard water quality in Canandaigua Lake, and increase public access to recreational opportunities. In the future, the FLLT hopes to work with the state and other partners to construct a hiking trail on nearby conserved lands from the lakeshore to the summit of Bare Hill.

“Bare Hill is a beloved landmark for many people who spend time at Canandaigua Lake,” said FLLT Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “By securing these lands, we are ensuring that future generations will be able to witness this inspiring landscape and connect with nature.”

Funding for the project came from the FLLT’s Opportunity Fund, an internal revolving loan fund that is available for time-sensitive acquisitions such as this project. The fund is then replenished either through fundraising or, as in this case, the sale of the property to the DEC. 

Elsewhere in the Canandaigua Lake watershed, the FLLT owns and manages the Canandaigua Vista, West River, and Great Hill (Nundawao) Preserves. The organization has worked in partnership with Ontario County to create Grimes Glen County Park, with the Town of South Bristol to create Carolabarb Park, and with the DEC to enhance the protection of Conklin Gully and High Tor Wildlife Management Area. Additionally, the FLLT holds conservation easements on 22 properties in this area, representing more than 990 conserved acres in private ownership which remain on local tax rolls.

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 32,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The FLLT owns and manages a network of over 45 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 187 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 residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.

Information on the region’s premier destinations for outdoor recreation 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.

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