The Land Trust added 15 acres of forest with a rugged gorge to its Van Riper Conservation Area and adjacent Whitlock Nature Preserve on the western shore of Cayuga Lake.
With this latest addition, the preserve now spans over 96 acres of diverse wildlife habitats. The parcel is situated uphill from the existing preserve, which is located on both sides of State Route 89 in the town of Romulus, Seneca County. The new property features mature forest as well as 1,600 feet of frontage on a tributary to Cayuga Lake. Acquisition of the land helps ensure water quality in Cayuga Lake, protects high quality wildlife habitat, and maintains the rural character of a landscape bordering the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway.
Together, the VanRiper and Whitlock Preserves protect 1,900 feet of pristine shoreline and host a diversity of wildlife habitats including mature woodlands, meadows, and a rugged gorge. A hiking trail provides visitors with easy access to the shore of Cayuga Lake. Elsewhere in the Cayuga Lake watershed, the Land Trust has protected approximately 4,000 acres of open space through direct acquisition as well as the use of perpetual conservation easements on land that remains in private ownership.
Funding for the purchase came from the Land Trust’s recent Shoreline to Summit capital campaign. During the coming year, the Land Trust will develop a management plan for the new property that will provide for appropriate public access while ensuring the protection of sensitive habitats.