Photo: FLLT

Land Trust Acquires More Than 200 Acres in Chemung River Valley

The Land Trust purchased approximately 211 acres in the town of Big Flats from the Smith family. Situated in the Chemung River Valley between Elmira and Corning, the property will be conveyed to New York State as an addition to the newly created Big Flats Wildlife Management Area in the future.

The property features scenic fields near the Chemung River as well as steep wooded slopes on Harris Hill. The land was once part of a diverse local farm operation with orchards and free range chickens. More recently, the fields have been cultivated for soybeans and corn.

Photo: FLLT

The property supports a diversity of wildlife including Bald Eagles and black bear, with the Palisades creating a dramatic backdrop. In June, the Land Trust acquired 104 acres along the Palisades, protecting more than 4,000 feet of Chemung River streambank. This property will also be transferred to the state when funds become available.

“Protection of this property is important for current and future generations so that they can enjoy the beauty of our area,” said Ed Fairbrother, Town of Big Flats Supervisor. “The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a very vital partner for conservation in our town.”

This is the Land Trust’s seventeenth conservation project in the Chemung River watershed. Elsewhere in the watershed, the Land Trust owns and manages several nature preserves and also holds perpetual conservation easements on land that remains in private ownership. Addition of these latest acquisitions to the wildlife management area will create new opportunities for outdoor recreation and add to a growing network of conservation lands along the Chemung River.

“This latest acquisition will be a terrific addition to our public lands,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “Whether you are a hunter, bird watcher, or simply someone who likes being outdoors, this property has a lot to offer.”

The project was funded with support from the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, an anonymous donor, and the Land Trust’s Opportunity Fund— a revolving internal account dedicated to making time-sensitive acquisitions possible.