Photo: FLLT

Land Purchase Expands Emerald Necklace Around Ithaca

Land purchase extends greenbelt and adds to existing nature preserve in Tompkins County.

Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust today announced that it has acquired 30 acres of meadows, forest, and wetlands as an addition to its Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in the Town of West Danby, Tompkins County.  With this latest addition, the preserve now spans 537 acres of diverse wildlife habitats.

The new addition borders the existing preserve on two sides and includes frontage on two kettle ponds and on State Route 34/96.  The tract is home to beaver, seasonal populations of Hooded Merganser ducks, and Great Blue Heron.  With this expansion, the Land Trust will now have an increased ability to manage wildlife habitats as well as expand opportunities for outdoor recreation within the preserve.

Photo: FLLT

Photo: FLLT

The Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve was created in 1995 when now deceased Cornell University professor Thomas Eisner proposed the idea.  He suggested that the Land Trust identify an ecologically rich site near Ithaca, acquire and protect it, and then promote its use for research into chemical ecology.  The land is stunningly diverse, encompassing several streams, a 15-acre lake, glacier-carved kettle ponds and moraines, hardwood swamp, vernal pools, open grassy and early-successional shrub fields, and mixed forest.

Since its beginning, the Land Trust has gradually expanded the preserve with acquisitions of neighboring properties, including fields to the south and major additions to the preserve’s mature woodlands.  The preserve, which contains 3.5 miles of hiking trails, now spans the floodplain and steep eastern slope of the Cayuga Inlet valley, extending nearly to the peaks known as Thatcher’s Pinnacles in Danby State Forest.  This newest acquisition marks the 12th addition to the preserve.

Funding for the purchase came from the Land Trust’s recent Living Lands and Waters capital campaign and a $10K grant from Tompkins County’s Capital Reserve Fund for Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Resource Protection.  Additional fundraising is underway.

The Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve is located within a network of conserved lands known as the Emerald Necklace Greenbelt.  The Emerald Necklace is an ambitious effort to link 50,000 acres of existing public open space that extends in an arc around Ithaca – from Finger Lakes National Forest in the west to Hammond Hill and Robinson Hollow State Forests in the east.  These lands host 78 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail, two Audubon-designated Important Bird Areas, and several dozen Tompkins County-designated Unique Natural Areas.  The Emerald Necklace is also recognized as a priority project within New York State’s Open Space Plan.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a member supported, non-profit conservation organization that works cooperatively with landowners and local communities to permanently protect those lands that are vital to the character of the Finger Lakes Region.  To date, the Land Trust has worked with partners to secure more than 16,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped shoreline, scenic farmland, rugged gorges, and majestic forest.  The organization today owns and manages 34 conservation areas that are accessible to the public and holds conservation easements on 114 properties that remain in private ownership.  Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.