PARTNERSHIP ENHANCES WILDLIFE HABITAT AND RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES IN NEW YORK’S ONLY NATIONAL FOREST
The Finger Lakes Land Trust recently announced the recent completion of an 11-acre addition to the Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) in the town of Hector, Schuyler County. The property was donated to the Land Trust by Pennsylvania residents Charles and Nancy Cladel with the understanding that it would be conveyed to the U.S. Forest Service when funds became available.
As a national forest “in-holding”––a piece of private property surrounded by public land––the parcel has a mix of white pine, mature oak, maple and assorted other hardwoods. Several small vernal pools form in shallow depressions in the forest floor, and the property lies adjacent to wetlands.
Funds from the sale of the property will be placed in the Land Trust’s “Forever Fund,” a dedicated account created by the Land Trust to make time-sensitive acquisitions possible. The Forever Fund is currently being used to finance another pending addition to the FLNF.
This latest acquisition is the Land Trust’s seventh land protection project in the vicinity of the national forest. Spanning more than 16,000 acres, the FLNF is located between Cayuga and Seneca lakes. It is well known for its miles of multi-use recreational trails and dirt roads. The forest’s patchwork of fields and woodlands also provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife and is recognized as one of New York State’s Important Bird Areas.
“This parcel is a wonderful addition to the national forest, providing not only greater habitat connectivity but also increased recreational opportunities,” said Jodie Vanselow, District Ranger for the U.S. Forest Service. “We thank the Finger Lakes Land Trust for working with us on securing this parcel.”
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the organization has protected more than 21,500 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust owns and manages a network of over 30 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 138 properties that remain in private ownership.
The Land Trust 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.
Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org. Information on the region’s premiere destinations for outdoor recreation, including the Finger Lakes National Forest, may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a resource created by the Land Trust to encourage people to get outdoors.