Photo: FLLT

Land Donation Conserves Onondaga County Woodlands and Stream Corridor

The Land Trust acquired 55 acres in the town of Manlius, Onondaga County. The property was left to the Land Trust by Dawn Cottrell, a longtime member who passed away in 2017.

The land, which is located in an area experiencing substantial development pressure, consists primarily of a mixed hardwood forest, with planted conifer stands of pine and spruce. A small creek runs through the property, eventually joining a larger stream just beyond the eastern border of the parcel which flows to Limestone Creek.

Photo: FLLT

The land also sits across State Route 173 from another protected area known locally as “Three Falls Woods.” A hidden gem long enjoyed by hikers in the area, the Three Falls Woods property was recently donated to the Central New York Land Trust (CNYLT).

Given the proximity of the land to Three Falls Woods, the FLLT reached out to the CNYLT about a collaboration between the two organizations. The FLLT and CNYLT plan to work together to ensure Dawn Cottrell’s wish that her land be forever managed as a nature preserve.  To achieve this goal, the FLLT intends to transfer ownership of the property to the CNYLT, subject to a perpetual conservation easement to be held by the FLLT.

“Dawn Cottrell has made a wonderful commitment to the land and the community,” says FLLT Executive Director Andy Zepp.  “We’re grateful to have the opportunity to continue her legacy of stewardship and also to have the opportunity to partner with another land trust.”

“The Cottrell property is an important addition to our Three Falls Woods Preserve,” adds CNYLT Executive Director Albert Joerger. “The gift celebrates generations of community mindedness in the Cottrell Family. I am humbled by their generosity.”

Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Landowners who donate conservation easements are eligible for a state property tax credit.

Originally established in 1972, the Central New York Land Trust (CNYLT) is a membership-supported not-for-profit organization working in Onondaga and Oswego Counties. The CNYLT seeks to preserve and protect natural areas to provide our communities clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, and a chance to connect with the land. CNYLT owns and manages a network of 48 nature preserves encompassing 2,800 acres. Additional information can be found at