Photo: Chris Ray

Finger Lakes Land Trust Protects Waterfalls and Woodlands on Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced it has permanently protected 45 acres in the town of Covert, Seneca County, with a conservation easement. Owned by William and Gail Shaw, the property is located on the western shore of Cayuga Lake and features 1,500 feet of frontage on State Route 89, part of the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway. The Shaws are committed to protecting their property in perpetuity and generously donated the easement along with a portion of the associated costs.

Entirely situated in the Cayuga Lake watershed, the property contains woodlands, waterfalls, and 1,825 feet of streambank along Hogback Creek, a tributary to the lake. A former orchard with heirloom apples, shrublands, and a manmade pond on the property provide habitat for a diversity of birds and other wildlife.

A small waterfall

Photo: Chris Ray

The conservation easement prohibits subdivision of the property, secures its steep slopes and unique twin waterfalls, and safeguards water quality in Cayuga Lake. Conservation of this parcel also provides an important buffer from development to nearby protected lands. The Shaws’ property is just north of Camp Barton and Frontenac Point, two miles north of Taughannock Falls State Park, and across the lake from the FLLT’s Sims-Jennings Preserve at Cayuga Cliffs.

“We are grateful for this wonderful gift from Bill and Gail Shaw,” said Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “This property is a remarkable natural area in its own right, and also plays an important role in helping to maintain water quality in Cayuga Lake.”

Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that permanently limit future land use in order to protect the land’s conservation value. Lands subject to conservation easements remain in private ownership, on local tax rolls, and available for traditional uses such as farming and hunting.