Gorge in Yates County is Now Protected

Photo of Clark Gully by Nigel Kent

Finger Lakes Land Trust acquires mouth of iconic gorge in Canandaigua Lake Watershed

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced it has purchased a small but critical parcel near the south end of Canandaigua Lake in the town of Italy, Yates County. The property is located at the mouth of Clark Gully, an iconic gorge, and is surrounded by High Tor Wildlife Management Area.

The 3.4-acre parcel features 2,200 feet of frontage on an unnamed creek that flows through the gorge, which is situated on Great Hill. Also known as Nundawao, Great Hill is of special significance to the Seneca Nation. The Seneca refer to themselves as “The People of the Great Hill, or O-non-dowa-gah, and this area is referred to as the place of their origin.

During the coming year, the FLLT will consult with representatives of the Seneca Nation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and local residents to explore long-term conservation options for this special place.

“We are grateful to the Jones family for helping us permanently conserve this wonderful natural area,” said Executive Director Andy Zepp. “We are very much looking forward to working with our partners and the local community to consider the future of this land.” 

This latest acquisition is part of a growing network of conserved lands at the south end of Canandaigua Lake which includes the FLLT’s West River Preserve and Great Hill nature preserves. The organization has also partnered with the Town of South Bristol to create nearby Carolabarb Park; Ontario County to acquire Grimes Glen; and with New York State to add several parcels to High Tor Wildlife Management Area. 

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 157 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, including the High Tor Wildlife Management Area, 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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