Land Trust Acquisition Adds to Protection of Skaneateles Lake

Photo by Bill Hecht
12/17/20

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) announced recently that it has acquired 68 wooded acres overlooking Skaneateles Lake in the town of Niles. The property features steep hillsides overlooking the lake, 4,300 feet of frontage on Glen Haven Road, and contains more than two miles of stream bank on nine tributaries, making it significant for watershed protection.

The FLLT responded quickly when it learned that the property was under foreclosure by Cayuga County for unpaid taxes. The organization purchased the property for the total amount of unpaid taxes and is now assessing long-term options for its management.

“We really appreciate the willingness of the Cayuga County legislature to work with us to conserve this special property,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp.

This latest acquisition is located within an FLLT focus area known as the Skaneateles Highlands, an arc of high hills extending from Carpenter Falls on the lake’s western shore to the Staghorn Cliffs in the east. The highlands are recognized as a priority project in New York State’s Open Space Plan and play an important role in ensuring water quality within the lake, which serves as the unfiltered drinking water supply for the city of Syracuse. The forests near the south end of the lake are also recognized by National Audubon as one of the state’s “Important Bird Areas” due to the diversity of birds that can be found nesting there.

This purchase was made possible by an internal loan from the Land Trust’s Opportunity Fund, a revolving fund reserved for key time-sensitive acquisitions. A fundraising campaign is now underway to replenish the fund. For more information, please contact Senior Director Kelly Makosch at (607) 275-9487 or kellymakosch@fllt.org

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 25,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust owns and manages a network of 35 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 150 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.

Information on the region’s premiere destinations for outdoor recreation may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a resource created by the Land Trust 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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