Finger Lakes Land Trust Opens New Nature Preserve Overlooking Cayuga Lake in Lansing

06/20/2024

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) announced it has formally opened its 223-acre Sims-Jenning Preserve at Cayuga Cliffs in the town of Lansing, Tompkins County. Local officials joined FLLT staff, volunteers, and members on Wednesday, June 5 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and hike at the new conservation area.

Located off Ridge Road in Lansing, the preserve protects over 4,000 feet of wooded bluffs above Cayuga Lake and a mosaic of meadows, woodlands, gorges, and panoramic lake views. Nearly two miles of hiking trails guide visitors past cascading waterfalls and creeks with multiple vista points, each with a handmade bench that offers glimpses of Cayuga Lake.

200 acres were originally purchased by the FLLT in 2021 from Lansing residents William and Jean Sims who also donated a conservation easement on an adjacent 41 acres that buffers the preserve. In order to provide safe public access, an adjacent 23-acre parcel with frontage on Ridge Road was purchased in 2023 from the family of the late John Thompson. Both families generously agreed to sell their land for considerably less than its fair market value to create the preserve.

The FLLT received generous lead support for this project from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Tompkins County’s Natural Infrastructure Capital Program, Chris Dennis Environmental Foundation, Daniel Konowalow and Marcy Rosenkrantz, Robert F. Schumann Foundation, and the friends and family of Danny Iandoli Miner.

The preserve is open during daylight hours for quiet nature observation and low-impact recreation such as hiking and cross-country skiing. Hikers must stay on marked trails to avoid dangerous cliffs and minimize disturbance of native plants and wildlife. A map, directions, and additional information about the new preserve can be found at fllt.org/simsjennings.

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, including the Roy H. Park Preserve, may be found at www.fllt.org.

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