The Finger Lakes Land Trust today announced it has acquired 104 acres and more than 4,000 feet of streambank along the Chemung River in the town of Big Flats, Chemung County. Visible from Interstate 86 and New York State Route 352, the steep hillside property is a cherished landmark in the Southern Tier, and known locally as the Palisades.
The rugged cliffs of the Palisades provide habitat for bald eagles and a scenic backdrop for paddling on the Chemung River. Here, the river valley and its neighboring hillsides have long been recognized by both the public and private sectors as important for its functional floodplain, wildlife habitat, and unique recreational opportunities.
Protection of this property enhances water quality and adds to a growing network of conserved lands along the Chemung River including the Land Trust’s nearby Kehoe, Plymouth Woods, and Steege Hill nature preserves. The parcel will be conveyed to New York State’s newly created Big Flats Wildlife Management Area in the future.
“Acquisition of this land will secure significant natural resources while enhancing public access to the river,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation on this project.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC is proud to partner with the Finger Lakes Land Trust to protect this remarkable area that serves as home to precious habitats and as a unique recreation destination for visitors. Protecting these natural resources is critical to ensuring the health of our communities and wildlife while bolstering our ongoing efforts to safeguard water quality across the state.”
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the organization has protected more than 22,000 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 138 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, including the Chemung River, may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a resource created by the Land Trust to encourage people to get outdoors.