LAND TRUST AND TOWN OF GORHAM FORM PARTNERSHIP TO PROTECT PRIME FARMLAND IN CANADAIGUA LAKE WATERSHED
The Finger Lakes Land Trust and the Town of Gorham today announced the permanent protection of 50 acres of prime farmland in the Canandaigua Lake watershed through the use of a perpetual conservation easement. The property, previously owned by Joe Christofferson, overlooks Canandaigua Lake and provides the public with scenic views from Twitchell Road.
The Land Trust and the town formed a partnership to conserve the property which will remain in agricultural use. The town provided over $85,000 in funding for the project, and the Land Trust agreed to hold the easement and monitor future compliance with the agreement.
The Town of Gorham is committed to conserving farmland and scenic vistas. They have codified this commitment through a Farmland, Open Space, and Resource Conservation Plan, as well as zoning ordinances that limit subdivision and development in high priority open space areas.
“The Town of Gorham has been trying to protect the water quality of Canandaigua Lake, open space, and active farmland throughout the town for many years now,” said Town Supervisor Fred Lightfoote. “This project accomplishes all three of these goals which are very important to the new and former owners of the property. They are to be commended. My hat is off to all who worked on this project, as well as the many past and present members of various town boards whose vision, determination, and persistence placed the town in a position to help bring the project to fruition.”
“The Land Trust is grateful for the town’s commitment to conserving open space,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp “Without their leadership, this project would not have been possible.”
This is the second project which the Land Trust and the Town of Gorham have partnered on. They previously worked together with New York State to protect 95 acres of forest on the northern slope of Bare Hill.
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.
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected more than 21,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust owns and manages a network of over 30 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 136 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 may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a new web site developed by the Land Trust to encourage people to get outdoors.