Photo: Chris Ray

Over 50 Acres in Six Mile Creek Watershed Conserved Forever

The Finger Lakes Land Trust permanently protected 51 acres in Tompkins County with a conservation easement donated by Ellen Harrison. Ellen’s property is located on Ellis Hollow Road in the town of Caroline, set within a scenic landscape of forested hills and open farmland.

The property is in the headwaters of Six Mile Creek, a public drinking water source for the city of Ithaca. It also includes 1,300 feet of frontage on the Thomas Road Wetlands, a Tompkins County-designated Unique Natural Area. The easement provides an 18-acre environmental protection zone to safeguard the wetland and provide critical protection to the creek and Cayuga Lake further downstream.

A woman in a flowery dress standing in front of her garden.

Photo: Chris Ray

Meadows and mixed-hardwood forest with stands of hemlock define the property which Ellen purchased with her late husband Rick in 1999. Together, they installed a pond and perennial and vegetable gardens which Ellen continues to steward with care. “I travel a lot and when I get home, I realize there’s no place as nice as this,” Ellen said.

The Harrison property is in close proximity to three private properties protected with conservation easements held by FLLT. Other protected lands in the area include the organization’s Ellis Hollow and Roy H. Park preserves and Hammond Hill State Forest.

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.