Photo: Matt Champlin

Land Donation to Protect Skaneateles Lake Water Quality

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) accepted the donation of 15 acres of steep forested hillside on Glen Haven Road in the town of Niles, Cayuga County. Located above the southwestern shore of Skaneateles Lake, the property was donated by Cortland residents Karen and Chet Seibert.

When asked why they wanted to donate their property for conservation, Karen and Chet said, “We want to protect the precious land and pure water for future generations.”

The property is dominated by sugar maples and features multiple creeks that flow directly into Skaneateles Lake, the unfiltered drinking water supply for the city of Syracuse. Protection of the parcel will safeguard the lake’s water quality by prohibiting development on its steep slopes. Development pressures are steadily increasing around the lake and protecting steep wooded hillsides stabilizes soils and prevents erosion and sediment loading into the lake.

An aerial view of a lake and green hillsides

Photo: Matt Champlin

The 15 acres are adjacent to an existing property acquired by the Land Trust in 2020 from Cayuga County and in close proximity to another parcel donated in 2018. In addition to protecting water quality, creating a network of conserved lands at the south end of the lake ensures the scenic character of the area and safeguards wildlife habitat. Other protected lands in the area include Bear Swamp State Forest, Carpenter Falls State Unique Area, the Land Trust’s Bahar Nature Preserve, and the 236-acre Casa Farms, conserved with a conservation easement earlier in 2022.