Photo: Bill Hecht

Land Trust Protects Rare Stretch of Shoreline

Ithaca, NY.  The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced the acquisition of 1,300 feet of shoreline on Otisco Lake along with 38 acres of adjacent forested hillside.  Otisco is the easternmost Finger Lake, located in Onondaga County just south of Syracuse.

The Land Trust moved quickly to purchase the land when it was listed for sale. The property features mature forests, several tributaries to Otisco Lake and a deep ravine with a scenic 40’ waterfall. The shoreline portion of the property features a small point as well as rugged cliffs.  The site provides prime habitat for Bald Eagles, Osprey, and a variety of water birds.  Conservation of the area will help protect the lake’s water quality and preserve the scenic character of Otisco’s western shore.

Photo: Bill Hecht

Photo: Bill Hecht

The Land Trust was able to acquire the property due to a generous gift from an anonymous donor.  The organization has thus far raised $328,958 towards its fundraising goal of $400,000 for the project.  The campaign will cover the cost of acquisition as well as the removal of an old cabin from the property, modest site improvements for public access from Willowdale Road, and a contribution to the organization’s Stewardship Fund to provide for long term management.

After completion of the fundraising campaign and development of a management plan for the site, the Land Trust intends to open the new conservation area for low impact uses such as hiking, bird watching, and fishing.

“This was truly a rare opportunity,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp.  “Little undeveloped shoreline remains in our region, and what does exist is increasingly threatened by shoreline development.  We’re particularly grateful to the anonymous donor who pledged the support we needed to pursue this acquisition.”

Elsewhere in the Finger Lakes Region, the Land Trust has conserved shoreline on Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Skaneateles and Canandaigua Lakes.  In Onondaga County, the Land Trust now owns and manages three public conservation areas – two of which overlook Skaneateles Lake.  The organization also holds conservation easements on several properties that remain in private ownership.

Since it was established in 1989, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has worked cooperatively with landowners and local communities conserve forever the lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region, ensuring scenic vistas, local foods, clean water, and wild places for everyone. The Land Trust today owns and manages a network of over 30 conservation areas that are open to the public and holds conservation easements on more than 120 properties that remain in private ownership.

The Land Trust is a non-profit organization that is supported primarily by membership contributions.  A small staff and an extensive network of volunteers carry out the work of organization.

To contribute to the Otisco Lake project or to learn more about the Land Trust, please visit or call (607) 275-9487.