Photo: Bill Hecht

Land Donation Will Establish 143-Acre Nature Preserve in Tompkins County

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced it has received a 143-acre property in the town of Caroline, Tompkins County, as a gift from former Ithaca residents Anatol and Carolyn Eberhard. The parcel features extensive frontage on Coddington Road, steeply sloping woodlands, and gently rolling hills located within the Willseyville Creek valley.

The Eberhards originally worked with the FLLT to protect their property with a conservation easement in 2009. Eleven years later, they decided to give their property to the organization outright. The FLLT agreed to accept the land donation to increase the level of protection and provide for future public access. The property is adjacent to three parcels recently acquired by the organization as additions to Danby State Forest and is part of a larger 500-acre block of conserved land that is traversed by the Finger Lakes Trail.

Photo: Bill Hecht

The property is also located in a Tompkins County-designated Unique Natural Area (UNA) and within the Emerald Necklace, 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. Protecting the property plays a significant role in maintaining the water quality of nearby Willseyville Creek, a headwater stream of the Susquehanna River.

“This donation will ensure the future of a diverse woodland that features towering oaks and maples,” says FLLT executive director Andrew Zepp. “Thanks to the generosity of Anatol and Carolyn Eberhard, the public will have the opportunity to enjoy this land.”

During 2021, the FLLT will develop a management plan to guide future public access and consider the possibility of rerouting a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail onto the property. It is anticipated that the property will be formally opened to the public sometime in 2022, when access improvements are complete. The organization is actively fundraising to support public access improvements and provide for long-term stewardship of the land. To make a gift in support of the project, please contact Senior Director Kelly Makosch at (607) 275-9487 or