Photo: Harry Littell

Land Donation Leads to 290-Acre Nature Preserve in Tioga County

Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today that it has accepted a donation of 290 acres located in the village and town of Candor in Tioga County from Ithaca residents Betsy and Dick Darlington.

The property is a mix of forest and meadows with frontage on Catatonk Creek and is located entirely within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  The Darlingtons have owned the property since the 1970s and used it as a retreat and a place to experience and study nature.  To enhance habitat diversity, they created ponds, wetlands, and vernal pools.  In 1990, they donated a conservation easement on a large portion of the property, the first ever received by the Land Trust.

Today, the property is a wonderful mosaic of woodlands, meadows, wetlands, ponds, and streams.  Hilltop meadows provide distant vistas of the Allegheny Plateau, while thick forests harbor abundant wildlife.  A steep descent takes visitors to the banks of Catatonk Creek, a significant tributary to the Susquehanna River.

As the Darlington family has requested, the site will be known as the Logan Hill Nature Preserve.  Efforts are currently underway to raise funds to accommodate public access to the site.  The Land Trust intends to develop a network of hiking trails along with a parking area and interpretive kiosk.  The organization also intends to work with the town of Candor to develop a public canoe/kayak launch on Catatonk Creek.

Photo: Bill Hecht

Photo: Bill Hecht

Betsy Darlington was a founding board member of the Land Trust and played an integral role in building its land protection and stewardship programs.  “This donation shows a tremendous commitment to the land and to the community,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp. “The Darlington family’s action is truly inspiring, and Betsy continues to blaze a path for other conservationists to follow.”

Bob Riggs, Supervisor for the town of Candor, expressed enthusiastic support of the project upon hearing about it saying, “This is awesome.  I think it’s great that our town will benefit from the Darlington’s generosity and commitment to the environment.”  The Logan Hill Nature Preserve will be the second publicly accessible conservation area in Tioga County owned by the Land Trust.  The Robert and Mary Carver King Nature Preserve was acquired by the Land Trust in 2001 and spans 161 acres in the town of Richford.

During 2015, Land Trust staff and volunteers will work together to complete an inventory of the property and develop a management plan to guide future use of the site.  The Land Trust intends to make the property accessible to the public for hiking, cross country skiing, nature study, and permit based deer hunting.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a member supported, non-profit conservation organization that works cooperatively with landowners and local communities to conserve forever the lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region, ensuring scenic vistas, local foods, clean water, and wild places for everyone.

To date, the Land Trust has worked with partners to secure more than 17,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped shoreline, scenic farmland, rugged gorges, and majestic forest.  The organization today owns and manages over 30 conservation areas that are accessible to the public and holds conservation easements on over 100 properties that remain in private ownership.  Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at