Photo: Bill Hecht

Eberhard Nature Preserve

A glacier-carved valley gives way to steeply-sloping hillsides in a classic Finger Lakes landscape.

Natural History

The preserve consists almost entirely of steeply sloping woods dominated by towering oaks, maples, and hemlocks located on Eastman Hill, a designated Tompkins County Unique Natural Area. The lower portion of the property is situated in the Willseyville Creek valley in what was once farmlands and now consists of open meadows, brush, and forest. Protection of the property plays a significant role in maintaining the water quality of the creek, a headwater stream of the Susquehanna River.

The trails here extend well beyond the preserve’s boundaries with an opportunity to continue along the Finger Lakes Trail, a route shared with the North Country National Scenic Trail.  In addition, the preserve is adjacent to three parcels previously acquired by the Land Trust as additions to Danby State Forest and is part of a larger 500-acre block of conserved land. Shindagin Hollow State Forest is just a half-mile from the property’s western border.

All dogs must be on a leash and kept in full control by their owners. Please do not allow your dog to chase wildlife or intimidate other visitors.

Recent History

The property was a gift from Anatol and Carolyn Eberhard, former Ithaca residents and retired professors. The Eberhards originally purchased 40 acres and a house in 1972 and later expanded their holdings to nearly 145 acres by acquiring an adjacent parcel to the north. Using the property as a nature retreat, the Eberhards planted trees and created an expansive trail system. To forever conserve their property, they donated a conservation easement to the FLLT in 2009.

Despite spending their summers teaching at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the Eberhards spent many years hiking and enjoying the peace and quiet of their woods. Upon retirement, they decided to sell the house and an acre of land and donate the remainder to the Land Trust. Today, visitors to the preserve can enjoy these woods, thoughtfully stewarded by the Eberhards for over 45 years.

Land Acknowledgment

The Finger Lakes Land Trust recognizes that our nature preserves exist on the homeland of the Haudenosaunee. We hope to honor indigenous peoples’ ongoing relationship with the land by conserving wild places forever.

Public Use

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

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From Ithaca, take Hudson St. to merge onto Coddington Rd. Drive 10 miles to find the parking area on the right.