The Land Trust has accepted the donation of a conservation easement in the town of South Bristol, Ontario County, from Gladys Gifford and Alvin Schuster. The easement protects 41 acres nestled in a landscape of forests and farms within the dramatic Bristol Hills.
The property is a mix of fields, wetlands and diverse forests which include shagbark hickory, white ash, and black cherry. Over a half mile of the Finger Lakes Trail’s Bristol Hills Spur runs through the property. The parcel is set among other conservation lands in the Bristol Hills including Ontario County’s Gannett Hill Park, Cutler Boy Scout Camp, Cumming Nature Center, and state-owned wildlife management areas such as Stid Hill.
“Our land in South Bristol has given us much pleasure over the years, and we have protected it as space for wildlife—field and forest, pond and wetland,” said Gladys Gifford. “We are delighted that the Land Trust will continue our commitment to protect this land.”
This is the Land Trust’s second conservation easement on West Hollow Road where 46 acres adjacent to Gannett Hill Park were protected in 2008. Just eight miles to the north lies the Land Trust’s 390-acre Wesley Hill Nature Preserve, established in 1999.
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that permanently limit future land use in order to protect the land’s conservation value. Lands subject to conservation easements remain in private ownership, on local tax rolls, and available for traditional uses such as farming and hunting.
When a conservation easement meets the federal requirements for a charitable gift, the donor of the easement may be entitled to substantial federal tax benefits. Additionally, the New York State Tax Credit gives landowners whose land is restricted by a donated or partially donated conservation easement an annual refund of 25% of the property taxes paid on that land, up to $5,000 per year. It is important to note that the local municipality does not experience a reduction in tax revenue because the tax credit is offered by New York State.