Ithaca’s Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve Has a New Addition

Photo by Chris Ray

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced it is expanding its 537-acre Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve with the recent purchase of 8.5 acres in West Danby, Tompkins County. Located off Station Road, the property adjoins the northeastern corner of the preserve and represents the 14th addition to this growing conservation area.

The mostly wooded property features a small wetland and a tributary to the Cayuga Inlet. Protection of this parcel safeguards water quality in the inlet, a major tributary to Cayuga Lake. Partial funding for the purchase came from the FLLT’s Finger Lakes Forever Campaign and the Estate of Margaret Bald.

The FLLT has been steadily expanding the Lindsay-Parsons Preserve since it was originally established in 1995 as the world’s first temperate zone reserve for bioprospecting—the investigation of naturally occurring plant and animal compounds for their medicinal value. Initially only 36 acres, the preserve now spans the floodplain and steep slopes of the Cayuga Inlet valley, extending to Danby State Forest.

The preserve is also located in the Emerald Necklace, an effort to link 50,000 acres of existing public open space that extends in an arc around Ithaca—from Finger Lakes National Forest in the west to Hammond Hill and Yellow Barn state forests in the east. These lands host 78 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail, two Audubon-designated Important Bird Areas, and several dozen Tompkins County-designated Unique Natural Areas. The Emerald Necklace is also recognized as a priority project within New York State’s Open Space Plan.

An exceptional place for bird watching, the Lindsay-Parsons Preserve is open year-round for quiet nature observation and low-impact recreational activities such as hiking and cross-country skiing. Nearly four miles of trails lead visitors through forest, meadows, and past a lake and glacier-carved kettle ponds. A wetland overlook offering plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities can be found on Sylvan Lane next to the West Danby Firehouse, opposite the main preserve entrance on Route 34/96.

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 30,000 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 179 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, a resource created by the FLLT to encourage people to get outdoors. Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at

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