Photo: Scott Levine

Land Donation Secures Scenic Stretch of Finger Lakes Trail

The Land Trust received a donation of 138 acres in the town of Caroline, Tompkins County, from Dr. Anne Boyer. Dr. Boyer also donated a conservation easement on an adjacent 15-acre parcel where she maintains a private residence.

The Land Trust intends to establish a public conservation area with the property which boasts stunning 30-mile views of the surrounding landscape from a hilltop field accessed by a section of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT). Protection of this property safeguards approximately 3,000 feet of the FLT, which runs along its eastern edge.

Photo: Scott Levine

Protection of both parcels, which feature a mix of fields and woodlands, enhances habitat connectivity in an area of conserved lands, including Potato Hill State Forest, Robinson Hollow State Forest, the Land Trust’s Goetchius Wetland Preserve, a natural area owned by Cornell University, and three properties already protected by FLLT conservation easements. All of these lands are located within the watershed of Owego Creek, widely regarded as one of the region’s premiere trout streams.

Protection of the property expands the network of conserved lands known as the Emerald Necklace. The Emerald Necklace 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 Yellow Barn 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.

During the coming year, the Land Trust will complete a natural resource inventory of the site and develop a management plan to guide future use of the land. The organization is raising funds to contribute to the Land Trust’s Stewardship Fund to cover costs associated with long-term management. For information about making a contribution to this effort, please contact Kelly Makosch at kellymakosch@fllt.org.

Photo: Scott Levine

The conservation easement donation ensures that no additional homes will be constructed on the land to be retained by Dr. Boyer. 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 may be eligible for both state and federal tax benefits.

“We’re grateful to Dr. Boyer for this incredible gift,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “The views from this property are impressive and it is truly one of the jewels of the Emerald Necklace.”