Photo: Bill Hecht

Land Purchase Safeguards Ithaca’s Drinking Water Supply

Acquisition of 25 acres expands Emerald Necklace greenbelt and helps protect Ithaca’s drinking water supply.

Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today that it has purchased 25 acres as an addition to its Roy H. Park Preserve on Irish Settlement Road in the Town of Dryden.  This acquisition expands the preserve to 242 acres and helps buffer Six Mile Creek – the source of Ithaca’s drinking water supply.

This latest addition to the Roy H. Park Preserve is entirely forested and features several pocket wetlands.  The parcel borders the existing preserve on two sides and includes limited frontage on Irish Settlement Road.  The land is located in close proximity to Six Mile Creek as well as a tract the Land Trust recently conveyed to New York State as an addition to Yellow Barn State Forest.

Photo: Bill Hecht

The property was purchased with a combination of funds raised through the Land Trust’s recently completed Shoreline to Summit capital campaign and an internal loan from the organization’s Land Protection Fund.  Fundraising is now underway to cover costs associated with the transaction, and to provide for long term stewardship of the site.

“Acquisition of this parcel helps ensure the integrity of Six Mile Creek’s headwaters,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp.  By ensuring that this land won’t be developed, we’ll help ensure Ithaca’s drinking water supply while also maintaining an unbroken corridor of habitat that is used by wildlife such as Bobcat and Fisher.”

The Roy H. Park Preserve is a popular destination for outdoor recreation.  The Preserve features two separate access points as well as several miles of hiking trails, access to Six Mile Creek, and a handicapped accessible boardwalk and wetland overlook that was constructed in 2013.  The Preserve is linked to adjacent Hammond Hill State Forest by a hiking trail that was created in conjunction with construction of the boardwalk.

The Emerald Necklace Greenbelt is an ambitious effort to link 50,000 acres of existing public open space that extends in an arc around Ithaca – from Finger Lakes National Forest in the west to Hammond Hill and Robinson Hollow State Forests in the east.  These lands host 78 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail, two Audubon-designated Important Bird Areas, and several dozen Tompkins County-designated Unique Natural Areas.  The Emerald Necklace is also recognized as a priority project within New York State’s Open Space Plan.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a non-profit conservation organization that works cooperatively with landowners and local communities to protect those lands that are vital to the character of the Finger Lakes Region.  Since it was established 25 years ago, the organization has worked with partners to conserve more than 16,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped shoreline, scenic farmland, rugged gorges, and majestic forest.  The Land Trust today owns and manages 35 conservation areas that are accessible to the public and holds conservation easements on 114 properties that remain in private ownership.  Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at