Photo: Chris Ray

Finger Lakes Land Trust Dedicates Tapan Mitra Preserve, a Popular Gateway to Recreation in Ithaca

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) dedicated its 123-acre Tapan Mitra Preserve in the town of Ithaca, Tompkins County, after completing important public access improvements.

The preserve is located off State Route 13 and borders more than 2,000 acres of conserved lands that also include the Land Trust’s Sweedler and Thayer Preserves at Lick Brook, a Cornell Botanic Gardens natural area, and Robert H. Treman State Park. Also important for the water quality of Cayuga Lake, the Tapan Mitra Preserve protects more than a mile of frontage on the Cayuga Inlet, a major tributary to the lake.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Saturday, June 10, 2023, to celebrate the public access improvements, including a 7-acre addition to the preserve, a new interpretive kiosk with information on the area’s trails, and an improved parking area.

People cutting a ribbon during the dedication ceremony.

From L to R: Rod Howe, Town of Ithaca Supervisor, Aveek Majumdar, nephew of Tapan Mitra, Andrew Zepp, FLLT Executive Director, Katie Borgella, Tompkins County Director of Planning & Sustainability, Polly McClure, President of Cayuga Trails Club — Photo: Kelly Makosch

The preserve, formerly known as the Cayuga Inlet Conservation Area, was renamed in 2019 in honor of the late Tapan Mitra, a leading economic theorist and long-serving Cornell University professor who loved the outdoors. During his life, Dr. Mitra collaborated with the Land Trust to identify shared priorities as a part of his estate planning process. This collaboration led to a bequest, administered by the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, which ensures permanent protection and stewardship of the preserve. Support for the preserve’s expansion and improvements also came from the Finger Lakes Trail Conference, the Town of Ithaca, Tompkins County, the Community Foundation’s Hullar Family Fund, the Fields Pond Foundation, and many community members.