Photo: FLLT

Conservation Gift Protects Iconic Skaneateles Landmark

Conservation easement protects forest and stream corridor at Brook Farm in Town of Skaneateles.

Ithaca, NY — The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today that that it has accepted a donation of a conservation easement on 14 acres in the Town of Skaneateles from Louise Robinson.  The easement protects the forested portion of Brook Farm, one of the venues for the annual Skaneateles Festival – a series of concerts that feature internationally recognized musicians.

The conservation easement will ensure the integrity of hardwood forests located in close proximity to Skaneateles Lake as well as frontage on both banks of Bentley Brook – a tributary to the lake. The easement will also prevent the development of wooded frontage on State Route 41A (West Lake Road).  The home associated with Brook Farm as well as the nearby shoreline are not covered by the easement agreement.

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Photo: FLLT

Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls.  Landowners who donate conservation easements may be eligible for both state and federal tax benefits.  Easements are recorded in the land records and future owners of the land must abide by the agreement.

Protection of the natural and undeveloped condition of the property will help ensure water quality within Skaneateles Lake – an unfiltered public drinking water supply for the City of Syracuse and other communities.  The hillside next to Bentley Brook would be highly susceptible to accelerated storm water run-off and erosion damage that could adversely affect water quality if the property were to be developed.

Brook Farm is located within a landscape characterized by a mosaic of farmland, woodlots, and lakeshore residences.  The site is recognized as a conservation priority area within Onondaga County’s Sustainable Development Plan.  The Farm is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as designated by the United States Department of the Interior.

“The easement is a way for our family to “pay back” the land for the beauty and joy it has brought us for the 47 years we have owned it,” said Claire Howard, Louise Robinson’s daughter.  “My parents have been good stewards of their land for all of these years.  My siblings and I are proud of our mother for taking this final step to protect her land in perpetuity; the easement will remain in place for all future owners.”

“This wonderful gesture by Louise cements her family’s legacy of service to the community of Skaneateles and further protects a tributary to our pristine lake,” adds Land Trust board member and Skaneateles resident Dave Birchenough.

This latest easement is the 115th held by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, which 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.  In addition to lands upon which it holds conservation easements, the organization also owns and manages 35 conservation areas that are accessible to the public.  Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at