Fundraising Campaign is Launched for New Nature Preserve

Photo by Bill Hecht

The Finger Lakes Land Trust today announced it has launched a $650,000 fundraising campaign to establish a public conservation area on 90 acres in the town of Canandaigua, off of New York State Route 21.

The property is noteworthy for its scenic views, diverse wildlife habitats, and location near the head of Barnes Gully. An existing network of hiking trails traverse the site, providing access to open fields, oak-hickory woods, and a portion of the gully.

Acquisition of this property will help protect Canandaigua Lake’s water quality by prohibiting development on its steep slopes. Maintaining the natural buffers along Barnes Gully and protecting another tributary on the site will also help filter runoff to the lake.

Once the land is acquired, the organization will develop a long-term management plan that will guide public access improvements, building on the existing trail system and scenic overlooks. The Land Trust also intends to work with the Town of Canandaigua on the future possibility of linking this conservation area to nearby Onanda and McJannett parks.

In addition to the 90 acre purchase, the Land Trust negotiated contracts to conserve 11 adjacent acres with perpetual conservation easements that will buffer the preserve. Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Landowners who donate conservation easements may be eligible for both state and federal tax benefits.

The Land Trust is raising the necessary funding to purchase 90 acres outright, acquire two conservation easements on 11 adjacent acres, create public access, and contribute to its stewardship fund to support the site’s long-term management.

The organization has created a beautiful aerial video highlighting the property, which can be viewed at To make a gift in support of this project, or the long-term management of the preserve, please contact Director of Development and Communications Kelly Makosch at (607) 275-9487 or give online at

“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “We have a once in a lifetime chance to secure one of our most scenic spots while at the same time, protecting valuable wildlife habitat and helping to maintain Canandaigua Lake’s water quality.”

Elsewhere within the Canandaigua Lake watershed, the Land Trust has worked in partnership with Ontario County to establish Grimes Glen County Park, with the Town of South Bristol to create Carolabarb Park, and has protected seven properties located on the slopes of Bare Hill.

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the organization has protected more than 23,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland.  The Land Trust owns and manages a network of over 35 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 140 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  Information on the region’s premiere destinations for outdoor recreation may be found at, a resource created by the Land Trust to encourage people to get outdoors.

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