Land Donation will Help Protect Skaneateles Lake Water Quality

Photo by Matt Champlin

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) announced it has accepted the donation of 15 acres of steep forested hillside on Glen Haven Road in the town of Niles, Cayuga County. Located above the southwestern shore of Skaneateles Lake, the property was donated by Cortland residents Karen and Chet Seibert.

When asked why they wanted to donate their property for conservation, Karen and Chet said, “We want to protect the precious land and pure water for future generations.”

The property is dominated by sugar maples and features multiple creeks that flow directly into Skaneateles Lake, the unfiltered drinking water supply for the city of Syracuse. Protection of the parcel will safeguard the lake’s water quality by prohibiting development on its steep slopes. Development pressures are steadily increasing around the lake and protecting steep wooded hillsides stabilizes soils and prevents erosion and sediment loading into the lake.

The 15 acres are adjacent to an existing property acquired by the Land Trust in 2020 from Cayuga County and in close proximity to another parcel donated in 2018. In addition to protecting water quality, creating a network of conserved lands at the south end of the lake ensures the scenic character of the area and safeguards wildlife habitat. Other protected lands in the area include Bear Swamp State Forest, Carpenter Falls State Unique Area, the Land Trust’s Bahar Nature Preserve, and the 236-acre Casa Farms, conserved with a conservation easement earlier in 2022.

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 29,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The FLLT owns and manages a network of over 46 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 172 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 Bear Swamp State Forest, 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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