Latest Conservation Easement Protects Land Near Montezuma Refuge
01/24/2012The Land Trust today announced that it has accepted the gift of a conservation easement from Kathryn Whitehorne which will ensure the protection of 127 acres of wetlands and woodlands that she owns in the Town of Aurelius, Cayuga County. The property is located just east of Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.
The Whitehorne property features 40 acres of wetlands that are home to numerous amphibians and mature hardwood forests that host a diversity of birds and other wildlife. A small stream that flows from the tract ultimately enters the nearby National Wildlife Refuge. The property also includes more than a mile of undeveloped frontage on Laraway Road.
“We’re grateful to Kathryn for her commitment to the land and her wonderful gift to the community,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “This land will remain in private ownership and will continue to provide outstanding wildlife habitat as well as clean water to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.”
Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Easements are binding on future owners of the land and are monitored by the Land Trust to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement. Easement donors are eligible for both state and federal tax benefits provided that certain criteria are met.
The Whitehorne conservation easement prohibits future subdivision of the property and provides protection for the site’s wetlands. The agreement allows for construction of a single home and for the continued selective harvest of timber. The easement does not provide for public access to the property.
This latest conservation easement is the 83rd acquired by the Land Trust and it’s second in Cayuga County. The Land Trust also holds a conservation easement on a parcel bordering Bear Swamp Creek in the Town of Niles.
Tom Jasikoff, manager of the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, applauds this recent project: “I totally support the Finger Lakes Land Trust in preserving lands in our area – not just for their own inherent value but from a broader ecosystem standpoint and a landscape standpoint.”
The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a membership supported, not for profit organization that was established in 1989 to work cooperatively with landowners and local communities to permanently protect those lands that define the character of the 12-county Finger Lakes Region. To date, the organization has secured nearly 13,000 acres of the region’s scenic farmland, undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, and majestic forests. In addition to conservation easements held by the Land Trust, the organization also owns and manages a network of 30 conservation areas that are accessible to the public.