Photo: FLLT

Public Invited to Guided Hikes at Hinchcliff Family Preserve

Ithaca, NY – The community is invited to join the Finger Lakes Land Trust for two guided hikes on Saturday, August 22nd to have a first look at the new Hinchcliff Family Preserve in the town of Spafford, Onondaga County.

Executive Director Andy Zepp will lead the first walk at 10:00 am, and a second walk will be led by Nature Preserve Manager Jason Gorman at 11:00am.  The 206 acre preserve protects the banks of Randall Gulf Creek and more than a mile of fields and forests with panoramic views of Skaneateles Lake. Land Trust staff and volunteers created a 1 ½ mile loop trail that crosses several gullies and dips into a forest rich with historical artifacts highlighting the agricultural history of this beautiful area. The preserve will be open during daylight hours for quiet recreation and permit-based deer hunting will be allowed in the fall.

Photo: FLLT

Photo: FLLT

The Hinchcliff Family Preserve is part of a growing greenbelt of conserved lands that will ultimately extend around the southern half of Skaneateles Lake.  Protection of these lands will ensure the integrity of the area’s scenic landscapes, help maintain the City of Syracuse’s drinking water supply, and provide the public with a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities. The preserve is named in honor of David Hinchcliff, whose family provided substantial support for the project. Additional support from the community and a grant from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation made the protection of these lands possible.

The Land Trust has completed six other projects within the proposed greenbelt, which extends from the Staghorn Cliffs on the east side of the lake to the mouth of Bear Swamp Creek on the west side.  The area is widely recognized for its spectacular scenery and much of it is also recognized by the National Audubon Society as one of New York’s Important Bird Areas.  In its relatively undeveloped state, the greenbelt also plays a vital role in helping to maintain water quality within Skaneateles Lake.

Directions: From the village of Skaneateles, head south on East Lake Road about 14 miles from Genesee Street to Covey Road on your right. (Covey Road is north of Vincent Hill Road). Take a right at Covey Road and drive down the hill until you see other parked cars.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a member supported, non-profit conservation organization that works cooperatively with landowners and local communities to conserve forever the lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region, ensuring scenic vistas, local foods, clean water, and wild places for everyone.

To date, the Land Trust has worked with partners to secure more than 17,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped shoreline, scenic farmland, rugged gorges, and majestic forest.  The organization owns and manages over 30 conservation areas that are accessible to the public and holds conservation easements on over 100 properties that remain in private ownership.  Additional information on the Land Trust and conservation easements may be found at