Photo: Matt Champlin

Protecting the Skaneateles Highlands: Help Us Connect Hinchcliff & High Vista Preserves!

The Finger Lakes Land Trust presents a very rare chance to create a new nature preserve that connects two existing preserves in the Skaneateles Highlands.  With your help, we can protect more wildlife habitat, safeguard water quality, and expand outdoor recreation opportunities near the south end of beautiful Skaneateles Lake:

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Please type SKANEATELES HIGHLANDS in “Comments” on the donation form

We are raising $416,000 to connect the Hinchcliff Family Preserve to the High Vista Nature Preserve through the purchase of 75 wooded acres on the steep glacial slopes.  We need your help to purchase the property, create public access, and provide for long-term stewardship. Please watch the short video to get inspired and support the project.

Hinchcliff Preserve. Photo: Bill Hecht

The Land Trust has been carefully knitting together a greenbelt of conserved lands surrounding the south end of Skaneateles Lake, from Carpenter Falls in the west to the Staghorn Cliffs in the east.  For over a decade, the Land Trust has sought to protect a critical link in the greenbelt – which can be saved now and conserved forever!

Hinchcliff Preserve. Photo: Rob Howard

The connecting property is remarkable for its critical location and ecological values.  The upland portions of the site stabilize soils on steep slopes, preventing erosion as well as sediment and nutrient loading in the lake.  The City of Syracuse Water Department has identified the property as particularly significant to the protection of Skaneateles Lake.

The mature woods provide wildlife habitat for myriad species, including migrating song birds.  The entire property falls within a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area.  The site features multiple gorges, waterfalls, and woodlands and has frontage on both Spafford Landing Road and Vincent Hill Road.

The Land Trust plans to open the new preserve to the public for low-impact recreation such as hiking, skiing, and wildlife observation.  Staff and a corps of volunteers will build a hiking trail to connect the Hinchcliff Family and High Vista preserves, creating an important new opportunity for outdoor recreation and education.

The hiking trails planned here are part of an ongoing effort to create an expansive network of trails that extend from the Otisco Lake watershed to Bear Swamp State Forest, offering more places for everyone to get outside, free of charge.

Staghorn Cliffs. Photo: Matt Champlin

The Skaneateles Highlands is a focus area of the Finger Lakes Land Trust and a Regional Conservation Priority in the NYS Open Space Conservation Plan.

The Land Trust has already protected open space here, and this site is in close proximity to its Staghorn Cliffs and Cora Kampfe Dickinson preserves, a 600-acre conservation easement property, and another property protected by a Finger Lakes Land Trust deed restriction.

High Vista Preserve. Photo: Kevin Sio

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is raising money to purchase the property, open it to the public, and steward the land forever.  You can see the map of other Land Trust areas that have been protected permanently and opened to all.

Hinchcliff Preserve. Photo: Bill Hecht

With your help, we can permanently protect a rare and beautiful corridor of the Skaneateles Lake watershed:

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Please type SKANEATELES HIGHLANDS in “Comments” on the donation form

Please contact us with any questions about connecting the Skaneateles Highlands and how you can help save more land in the Finger Lakes.