Photo: David Kotok

State Grants Support Regional Conservation and Tourism Projects

Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today that it has been awarded a total of $51,000 for regional conservation and tourism projects through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program.

The program is funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. A total of $1.8 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants have been awarded to 55 nonprofit land trusts across the State of New York.  Governor Cuomo said. “With these grants, New York’s Environmental Protection Fund is securing critical funding for environmental and open space programs that will continue to protect our environment, generate jobs and revenue in local communities and ensure a cleaner and healthier New York.”

The Land Trust’s “Strengthening the Conservation Constituency” project was awarded $26,000 to support a major initiative to promote tourism and recreation through the launch of, a new interactive map and web portal that will showcase the best places for hiking, paddling, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities in the Finger Lakes region. Launching will also build a stronger constituency for implementing the State’s Open Space Plan, which guides state policies and investment in conserving undeveloped land.

Photo: David Kotok

Photo: David Kotok

An additional $25,000 was granted to enable the Land Trust to work with partners to produce a comprehensive regional conservation plan covering twelve Finger Lakes counties.  The plan will outline conservation priorities with maps and detailed supporting documentation for use by the Land Trust, towns and local conservation partners. This project will be collaborative in nature and will involve the participation of many stakeholders including state and federal conservation agencies, regional planning and development boards, county planning offices, non-profit conservation organizations, tourism and agricultural interests, the organized sportsmen’s community, and leading authorities on issues such as land use policy and conservation planning.

“We’re grateful for the continued support of the NYS Conservation Partnership Program,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp.  “These grants will be leveraged many times over through additional efforts to protect the lands that define the character of our region and also serve significant segments of our economy.”

“One of the true highlights of the recently enacted state budget is that we strengthened the Environmental Protection Fund, and this is exactly why. The fund helps to direct critical state funding to develop, encourage and enhance partnerships like this one between the Finger Lakes Land Trust and the Department of Environmental Conservation. Regional, locally based conservation initiatives like these serve to effectively enhance environmental quality, strengthen local communities and economies, and enhance outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities for the residents and families of the Finger Lakes. I’m grateful to the Finger Lakes Land Trust for their critical leadership,” said State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats), chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

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.

More information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust.