The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) accepted the donation of three adjacent conservation easements protecting 250 privately owned acres in the town of Virgil, Cortland County, and in close proximity to Greek Peak Mountain Ski Resort.
The easements were granted by a group of landowners and friends who manage the lands collectively: Ed Robinson, Scott and Lisa Snyder, and Jim, Carole, and Dale Lathrop.
Located within the Susquehanna River watershed and adjacent to James Kennedy State Forest, the private properties are primarily forested with smaller areas of fields and meadows. Over the years, the three neighbors have worked with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to manage the property as wildlife habitat, creating vernal pools, forest clearings, and small orchards. They have also used the land for maple syrup production, hunting, and recreation.
Protection of the three properties creates a buffer to the state forest as well as a section of the Finger Lakes Trail which runs to the south. Conservation of these lands also provides a forested buffer for streams on the properties—source waters of Owego Creek, which drains into the Susquehanna River and, eventually, the Chesapeake Bay.
“From a macro perspective, our world is changing rapidly and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said landowner Ed Robinson. “Large expanses of healthy green space are vital and will only become more important in the long-term future.”
“By working together, these neighbors have ensured the future of properties that provide significant habitat for a diversity of wildlife,” said Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “The easements will provide for traditional hunting and forestry while preventing development that would harm the site’s natural resources.”
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that permanently limit future land use in order to protect the land’s conservation value. Lands subject to conservation easements remain in private ownership, on local tax rolls, and available for traditional uses such as farming and hunting.
Please note that while these lands adjoin James Kennedy State Forest, they are not open to the public.