Land Trust Helps Protect Chemung River



The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) and the Town of Big Flats today announced the permanent protection of 1,000 feet of frontage on the Chemung River along with six acres of adjacent floodplain forest. The parcel borders State Route 352 in Big Flats and provides important wildlife habitat for a diversity of songbirds, raptors, and waterfowl.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, the property was originally acquired in 2017 by the FLLT and protected with a perpetual conservation easement. In July, the parcel was conveyed to the Town of Big Flats who will manage it as a public conservation area. The easement will ensure the integrity of forests bordering the river and also allow public access for kayaking and canoeing. Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit development while protecting environmentally significant resources.

The property joins a growing network of lands protected by the FLLT in the Chemung River watershed, including the Steege Hill and Plymouth Woods Nature Preserves, also in Big Flats.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Town of Big Flats again to conserve this area’s impressive natural resources while making them accessible to the public,” said Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “This is a win-win for everyone.”

“We’re thrilled to work with the Finger Lakes Land Trust,” said Town of Big Flats Supervisor Ed Fairbrother. “This project will secure public access on the river for many generations to come.”

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 26,500 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 158 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 Chemung River, 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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