Photo: FLLT

Lansing Conservation Gift Protects Cayuga Lake Watershed

Conservation easement on 46-acre Lansing property protects Cayuga Lake Watershed by limiting future development.

Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today that it has accepted a donation of a conservation easement on 46 hillside acres overlooking Cayuga Lake from Mike and Carrie Koplinka-Loehr.

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.

The Koplinka-Loehr property is next to land already conserved by the Land Trust under a conservation easement.  Together, these two properties include nearly 100 acres of a Tompkins County-identified Unique Natural Area on the hillside above the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake opposite Taughannock State Park.  Protecting both properties from development protects not only the water quality of the lake but also a significant portion of the scenic view enjoyed by visitors to one of the region’s most popular parks.

Photo: FLLT

Photo: FLLT

When the Koplinka-Loehr’s children were grown and development was encroaching on their property, they decided to pursue their dream of purchasing land where they could enjoy the quiet solitude of nature, plant gardens, and have access to Cayuga Lake.  After searching for years for their dream property, Mike and Carrie purchased acreage in Lansing and began living out their vision as stewards of their own land.  The property was farmed in the 1960s and has since grown into young woods but is also home to mature stands of oak, hickory, black walnut, and sugar maples.

Their easement will ensure that, no matter who owns the land, it will remain available to provide a home for a family as well as for the plants and animals that inhabit the forest and fields.  The easement strikes a careful balance between allowing the continued use of the property and protecting sensitive, highly erodible soils from activities that would accelerate erosion and negatively impact water quality in Cayuga Lake.  Most of the property will be maintained as forest where timber harvesting can occur subject to oversight by the Land Trust.  About 10 acres of the property will be available for agricultural management.

The Koplinka-Loehr conservation easement marks the 113th easement held by the Land Trust and adds to the more than 16,000 acres already protected by the organization.  Andy Zepp, Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director, expressed gratitude saying, “Our work wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and vision of families like the Koplinka-Loehrs.  We thank them for their commitment to the land and to our region.”

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 35 conservation areas that are accessible to the public and holds conservation easements on more than 100 properties that remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls.  Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at