Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today it has acquired a 16.6-acre parcel on Bare Hill – the iconic promontory overlooking Canandaigua Lake’s eastern shore. The property is located on East Lake Road in the Town of Middlesex, Yates County – neighboring New York State’s Bare Hill Unique Area.
The Land Trust moved quickly to secure a purchase contract on this property when it was listed for sale by a realtor this spring. The organization was able to make this commitment with support from a number of private contributions, a grant from the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, and an allocation of its “Forever Fund” – a dedicated account that is available for time sensitive purchases.
Funds from the “Forever Fund” are utilized when needed and then replenished – in this case, when the land is ultimately sold to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The “Forever Fund” was launched with the support of a bequest from the estate of the late Al Craig of Canadice, Ontario County.
The parcel is comprised of steeply sloping hardwood forest that extends from 500 feet of frontage on East Lake Road to near the crest of Bare Hill. Oak, hickory, and red maple dominate with scattered red cedars present near the summit. The property borders land already secured by the Land Trust.
Though it is now entirely forested, the parcel shows evidence of vineyard rows and pasture fences – indicating its past agricultural history. Bare Hill is well known in the region for its scenic views as well as its place in Seneca lore. Legend has it that a mighty serpent encircled an Indian village that once stood there – swallowing residents until it was slain by a brave young boy. In its death throes, the snake cleared the land and swept the hill bare.
This project represents the Land Trust’s fifth acquisition at Bare Hill. With the exception of a single lakefront parcel that will be retained as a preserve, land acquired here will ultimately be conveyed to New York State as additions to the adjacent Bare Hill State Unique Area. The Land Trust hopes to work with the state, and other partners, to construct a “shoreline to summit” hiking trail on land that is already under conservation ownership.
“This is a great addition to a growing network of conserved lands that extend southward from Bare Hill to Naples,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp. “These lands are vital to the health of Canandaigua Lake. We look forward to the day when an uninterrupted greenbelt will provide greater opportunities for outdoor recreation while also ensuring the future of the lake.”
Elsewhere within the Canandaigua Lake Watershed, the Land Trust has worked in partnership with Ontario County to establish Grimes Glen County Park, and with the Town of South Bristol to create Carolabarb Park. The organization has also partnered with the Town of Canandaigua to protect two farms as well as wetlands off Middle Cheshire Road. Near the south end of Canandaigua Lake, the Land Trust owns and manages hundreds of acres of conservation land and has worked with New York State to conserve Conklin Gully.
The Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected more than 18,500 acres of our region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, majestic forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust today owns and manages a network of nature preserves that are open to the public and holds conservation easements on more than 120 properties that remain in private ownership.
The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat and land that is important for water quality, connecting conserved lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation tools and the region’s unique natural resources. The Land Trust’s service area includes 12 counties that encompass the Finger Lakes and a significant portion of the Southern Tier. Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.