Photo: Bill Hecht

Land Trust Acquires Land to Create Nature Preserve in Canandaigua

The Finger Lakes Land Trust acquired an additional 40 acres in the town of Canandaigua, on the west side of the lake, with plans to establish a publicly accessible conservation area. Located off of New York State Route 21 and Jones Road, an additional contiguous 50-acre parcel was purchased in December 2019.

Both properties are noteworthy for their scenic views, diverse wildlife habitats, and location near the head of Barnes Gully. Existing hiking trails traverse the site, providing access to open meadows, oak-hickory woods, and a portion of the creek.

Photo: Bill Hecht

The two purchases were made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Town of Canandaigua, individual contributions, and an internal loan from the Land Trust’s “Opportunity Fund,” a dedicated account created by the organization to make time-sensitive acquisitions possible. The Land Trust has launched a fundraising campaign to raise the additional funds needed to cover the purchase of these lands, create public access, and contribute to the Land Trust’s Stewardship Fund to provide for long-term management.

The organization is now in the process of developing a management plan that will guide public access improvements, building on the existing trail system and scenic overlooks. Opening of the property to the public is planned for 2021. The Land Trust also intends to work with other landowners and the Town of Canandaigua to explore the possibility of linking this conservation area to nearby McJannett Park, and creating a greenbelt to link both sites to Canandaigua Lake and Onanda Park.

“This project is a one of a kind opportunity to secure a unique natural area that will be enjoyed by generations to come,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “We are grateful to the two previous owners of the land, who chose to work with us to conserve this special place.”

In addition to the 90 acres, the Land Trust negotiated contracts to conserve just over eight adjacent acres with perpetual conservation easements that will buffer the preserve. 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.

The organization has created a beautiful aerial video highlighting the property, which can be viewed at To make a gift in support of this project, please contact Senior Director Kelly Makosch at (607) 275-9487 or or give online at