Photo: Bill Hecht

Land Donation Adds to Protection of Skaneateles Lake

The Land Trust permanently protected six forested hillside acres on the west side of North Glen Haven Road in the towns of Niles and Sempronius. The land, donated by Anne Mackenzie and Frank Girardi, is adjacent to Bear Swamp State Forest.

Conserving the property will help protect Skaneateles Lake—the source of drinking water for the city of Syracuse—by prohibiting development on its steep slopes. Ongoing Land Trust efforts are keenly focused on securing hillsides in this area, known as the Skaneateles Highlands, especially those adjacent to Bear Swamp State Forest and its critical tributary to the lake, Bear Swamp Creek.

Photo: FLLT

The Land Trust is considering options for long term conservation of the land including the possible transfer of the property to the state as an addition to Bear Swamp State Forest. This is the fifth conservation project the Land Trust has completed in the vicinity of the forest, which is identified as a priority project within New York State’s Open Space Plan. It is also part of an Audubon-designated Important Bird Area, hosts a popular network of recreational trails, and features extensive wetlands and rare flora.

Other protected lands in the area include Carpenter Falls State Unique Area, the Land Trust’s Bahar Nature Preserve, and three privately owned properties that have entered into conservation easement agreements with the Land Trust. Bear Swamp State Forest and its creek are located within a proposed greenbelt extending around the southern end of Skaneateles Lake. On the southeast side of the lake, the Land Trust owns the 200-acre Hinchcliff Family Preserve­­, the High Vista Preserve, and the Cora Kampfe Dickinson Conservation Area.

“We are pleased our contribution will benefit the public with respect to water quality and outdoor recreation, as well as preserve the forested environment for the flora and fauna that inhabit this beautiful region in which we are privileged to live,” said Anne MacKenzie.