Photo: Tasha Ferris

Partnership Enhances Public Access at Steege Hill Nature Preserve

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) formally opened a new trail and parking area at its Steege Hill Nature Preserve in the town of Big Flats, Chemung County. Local officials and Land Trust staff and volunteers gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and hike on the preserve in June to celebrate.

Over the past year, the FLLT and partners worked on several improvements that provided expanded and safer access to the preserve: students from Greater Southern Tier BOCES cleared the area in preparation for the project; the Town of Big Flats Highway Department installed a culvert and entrance to the new parking area, also working to smooth the new stone surface; and Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District planted new grass seed to areas that were disturbed by the project.

Local officials cutting a ribbon

Michael Rogers, Community Relations Director for State Senator Tom O’Mara, Town of Big Flats Supervisor Ed Fairbrother, Scott Esty, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Chris Friend, FLLT Board Member Kristin Swain, and longtime Steege Hill Steward Bob Corneau. Photo: Chris Ray

Additionally, FLLT staff and volunteers created a new trailhead and entry trail and installed a professionally designed interpretive kiosk. Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program administered by the Land Trust Alliance in coordination with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

At 793-acres, Steege Hill is the FLLT’s largest conservation area and is part of a growing network of conserved lands along the Chemung River including the Plymouth Woods and Kehoe nature preserves.

“We’re grateful for the support of our partners for helping to make these much-needed improvements possible,” said FLLT Executive Director Andrew Zepp.  We are now able to better accommodate the public and provide safe access to this popular preserve.”