Photo: Chris Ray

Finger Lakes Land Trust Opens New Nature Preserve Overlooking Cayuga Lake in Lansing

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) has formally opened its 223-acre Sims-Jennings Preserve at Cayuga Cliffs in the town of Lansing, Tompkins County.

Local officials joined FLLT staff, volunteers, and members on Wednesday, June 5, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and hike at the new conservation area.

Photo: Dawn Cornell

Located off Ridge Road in Lansing, the preserve protects over 4,000 feet of wooded bluffs above Cayuga Lake and a mosaic of meadows, woodlands, gorges, and panoramic lake views. Nearly two miles of hiking trails guide visitors past cascading waterfalls and creeks with multiple vista points, each with a handmade bench that offers glimpses of Cayuga Lake.

200 acres were originally purchased by the FLLT in 2021 from Lansing residents William and Jean Sims who also donated a conservation easement on an adjacent 41 acres that buffer the preserve. In order to provide safe public access, an adjacent 24-acre parcel with frontage on Ridge Road was purchased in 2023 from the family of the late John Thompson. Both families generously agreed to sell their land for considerably less than its fair market value to create the preserve.

The FLLT received generous lead support for this project from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Tompkins County’s Natural Infrastructure Capital Program, Chris Dennis Environmental Foundation, Daniel Konowalow and Marcy Rosenkrantz, Robert F. Schumann Foundation, and the friends and family of Danny Iandoli Miner.

The preserve is open during daylight hours for quiet nature observation and low-impact recreation such as hiking and cross-country skiing. Hikers must stay on marked trails to avoid dangerous cliffs and minimize disturbance of native plants and wildlife. A map, directions, and additional information about the new preserve can be found at fllt.org/simsjennings.