Photo: Bill Hecht

Conservation Plan: Skaneateles Highlands

Download:  A Vision for the Skaneateles Highlands (PDF)


Published October 2009

Prepared by Mark Whitmore and the Finger Lakes Land Trust

Skaneateles Lake is one of the most picturesque of the Finger Lakes.

Its headwaters lay in the steep valleys and rolling hills to the south, an area known as the Skaneateles Highlands.  Encompassing some of the region’s most pristine remaining shoreline, as well as a remarkable diversity of natural and cultural landscapes, the Skaneateles Highlands are widely recognized for their scenic beauty as well as their regional significance.

Though still rural in character, the Highlands are experiencing increasing development pressure—particularly in proximity to Skaneateles Lake.  Lakefront and “lake view” development is spurred by sky rocketing land values and increasing property tax burdens.  Development of even individual home sites can have a significant environmental impact within some portions of the Highlands due to its steep hillsides, unbroken forests, and pristine wetlands.

While there is widespread recognition of the values associated with the rural character of this landscape, there are currently no programs in place to effectively address the adverse impacts associated with the increasing pace of piecemeal development in the area.

The Skaneateles Highlands Conservation Planning and Stakeholder Project was initiated by the Finger Lakes Land Trust to work with a variety of public and private partners to complete an assessment of natural resources within this area; engage local communities and other stakeholders to consider options for conserving significant open space resources; interview landowners regarding their goals and attitudes; and ultimately develop a common vision and a plan for advancing conservation of this remarkable landscape.

Download:  A Vision for the Skaneateles Highlands (PDF)

You can download other regional conservation plans in PDF format.  See all plans here.