Three new land protection projects have pushed the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) over the 30,000 acres mark. Thanks to the dedication of FLLT members, partners, and volunteers, the organization has protected more than 30,000 acres of forests, farms, meadows, and lakeshores across the 12-county Finger Lakes region.
Recent projects include the protection of 86 acres at Fox Run Farm in Skaneateles. The property includes 2,070 feet along Shotwell Brook, which drains to Skaneateles Lake, as well as 1,430 feet along an unnamed tributary. The easement contains an 18-acre environmental protection zone that will buffer the two streams and filter potential contaminants from entering the lake, safeguarding the drinking water supply for the city of Syracuse and neighboring communities.
The FLLT also just acquired land directly across from the entrance to Ganondagan State Historic Site in Ontario County. The National Historic Landmark is the original site of a 17th-century Seneca town and home to the Seneca Art & Culture Center, a Seneca Bark Longhouse, and a series of interpretive trails. The new property features meadows and a pond that provide habitat for grassland birds in an area that is facing significant development pressure. The FLLT purchased the property at the request of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as part of the agency’s effort to safeguard this rural landscape from encroaching development. The parcel will eventually be transferred to New York State as an addition to Ganondagan.
The organization also recently closed on the 14th addition to its Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in West Danby. The addition further expands the sprawling 537-acre preserve and protects a small wetland and tributary to Cayuga Inlet, thereby safeguarding water quality of a major tributary to Cayuga Lake.
Achieving this 30,000-acre milestone follows the completion of the organization’s Finger Lakes Forever fundraising campaign which advanced 79 conservation projects, resulting in the protection of 5,937 acres of land, 33.5 miles of streambank, and 14,124 feet of lakeshore. To date, the organization has protected more than 5 miles of lakeshore and has 45 nature preserves open to everyone with over 53 miles of trails.
Since its beginnings as an all-volunteer organization in 1989, FLLT has grown into an accredited conservation organization supported by over 4,000 dedicated members. The FLLT focuses on protecting critical habitat for fish and wildlife, conserving lands that are important for water quality, connecting existing conservation lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.