New Nature Preserve to Open In Tompkins County in Spring 2024

Photo by Chris Ray

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) announced it has purchased 24 acres as an addition to its new Sims-Jennings Preserve at Cayuga Cliffs in the town of Lansing, Tompkins County. This addition will allow the organization to prepare the preserve for public access with a projected opening of spring 2024.

Originally acquired by the FLLT in 2021, the 224-acre Sims-Jennings Preserve features 4,000 feet of wooded bluffs overlooking the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake, located directly across from Taughannock Falls State Park. Conservation of this property secures scenic views, protects grassland bird habitat, creates new recreation opportunities, and helps safeguard the lake’s water quality by prohibiting development on its steep slopes.

Plans are underway to build a parking area and trailhead on the newly acquired property. The FLLT also plans to design and create a pollinator garden at the entrance to the preserve which will feature miles of trails with views of the lake.

“This addition greatly expands the preserve’s frontage on State Route 34B,” said FLLT Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “We are now able to move forward with plans to open this scenic nature preserve to the public.”

As the FLLT proceeds with opening the Sims-Jennings Preserve, it is also working nearby with New York State to establish a state-owned wildlife management area featuring Cayuga Lake shoreline at Bell Station. For additional information about the Sims-Jennings Preserve, including maps, photos, and a video, visit

The purchase was made possible with support from individual contributions and Tompkins County’s Natural Infrastructure Capital Grant Program.

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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