Thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT), 24 wooded acres have been added to the Finger Lakes National Forest in the town of Hector, Schuyler County.
Surrounded by existing national forest land, the inholding was identified as a priority for protection because of its key location and frontage on Seneca and Wardner Corners roads. Protection of this parcel prevents subdivision that would eliminate intact hardwood forest and degrade the ecological and recreational value of adjacent public lands.
Well known for its miles of multi-use trails, the Finger Lakes National Forest is a patchwork of fields and woodlands that provide varied recreational opportunities as well as habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Nestled between Cayuga and Seneca lakes, the forest spans over 16,000 acres and is recognized as one of New York State’s Important Bird Areas.
The FLLT purchased the property in 2017 using its Opportunity Fund, a dedicated account created by the organization to make time-sensitive acquisitions possible. Proceeds from the sale of the property to the Forest Service will be returned to the Opportunity Fund to support the organization’s future conservation projects.
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with the U.S. Forest Service,” said FLLT Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “The acquisitions of key parcels like this ensure the national forest’s ecological integrity while also enhancing public access for outdoor recreation.”
“We are excited to again be working with the Finger Lakes Land Trust to expand wildlife habitat and enhance recreation opportunities for the local community and our visitors,” said Jodie Vanselow, District Ranger for the Finger Lakes National Forest. “These twenty-four acres are especially attractive to us as the acquisition will prevent the potential for future forest fragmentation while providing the public with increased access to public lands.”
To date, the FLLT has completed six conservation projects within the forest and will continue to prioritize acquisitions in this area. With more people discovering this part of the Finger Lakes, pressure on this land is increasing. The organization is committed to working with landowners, the Forest Service, and other partners, to ensure the future of this expansive stretch of countryside.