Photo: Bill Hecht

Owasco Bluffs Nature Preserve

Overlooking the eastern shore of Owasco Lake, the 74-acre Owasco Bluffs Nature Preserve protects over 1,100 feet of undeveloped, pristine shoreline.  It is the first Finger Lakes Land Trust preserve in the Owasco Lake watershed, and only the third publicly accessible conservation area on the lake itself.

Natural History

The preserve features forested bluffs overlooking the lake as well as wetlands, meadows, and a rugged gorge. A one-mile trail begins off of Sam Adams Lane and guides visitors through fields and forests, ending at a wooded hillside with spectacular lake views.

In partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) completed a wetland restoration project in the upper portion of the preserve. Construction of these wetlands enhances the protection of Owasco Lake’s water quality by filtering runoff to the lake. Efforts were also made to improve wildlife habitat by removing invasive plant species such as buckthorn and honeysuckle, and by planting native tree species.

History

The property was originally purchased in 2018 from Dr. Joseph Karpinski, a well-known and celebrated surgeon from Auburn who passed away in 2020. FLLT is grateful to NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation, Gallogly Family Foundation, Fred L. Emerson Foundation, and the many funders and individual donors whose important support made this project possible. FLLT is thrilled to open its first conservation area in the Owasco Lake watershed to the public.

Public Use

During the full hunting season, from October 1- December 22, bow hunters will be hunting on the preserve in locations that are at least 150 feet from the marked hiking trail, and the trail will remain open to the public during that time. Hikers must stay on the marked hiking trail at all times. Hunters will be allowed to hunt with bow only throughout the regular bow season, as well as through the regular gun season and late bow/muzzle-loader hunting season.

Please see our public use policies for recreational activities on nature preserves.

Go Finger Lakes

Go Finger Lakes is the free web site created by the Finger Lakes Land Trust to promote recreation and conservation. Use the interactive map of over 50 hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, and outdoor adventure destinations across the region!

SEE MORE PRESERVES ON GOFINGERLAKES.ORG

Directions

From Auburn, follow NY State Route 38A south for approx. 6 miles. Turn right onto Rockefeller Road and continue south for approx. 2 miles. Turn right onto Sam Adams Lane to find the preserve entrance on the right.

From Moravia, follow North Main Street/Rockefeller Road for 7.75 miles. Turn left onto Sam Adams Road and follow for approx. 0.5 mile. At the bend in the road, continue onto Sam Adams Lane for one mile to find the preserve entrance on the left.