It is with deep regret, that we say goodbye to Tom Reimers, our longtime friend and true champion of local trails. Tom passed away on January 23, 2019 at Hospicare in Ithaca, listening to Pavarotti with his friends by his side.
He had a great love for the outdoors of New York State, spending much of his time hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, birding, and enjoying local flora and fauna. He could be found almost daily, hiking and capturing beautiful photographs of the lands that inspired him. “He always reminded me of the old school naturalists with a blend of scientific and spiritual appreciation for wilderness,” said a former neighbor and friend of Tom’s.
Tom was involved with the Land Trust since its incorporation in 1989. He served many volunteer roles including board president, nature preserve steward, photographer, and trip leader, and sat on several committees throughout the years. He was involved with the Cayuga Trails Club, Finger Lakes Trail Conference, and received multiple awards honoring his tireless volunteer work, including the Land Trust’s Conservationist of the Year in 2006. Tom’s passion for exploring the local landscape is evident in “A Brief History of the Finger Lakes Trail,” which he wrote in 1992 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Finger Lakes Trail System.
In 2013, Tom donated his conserved 53-acre property in Danby to the Land Trust—the sale of which helped raise additional funds for conservation efforts. He owned the property for 15 years and used it as a retreat for enjoying and observing nature. Tom once said, “All of my family members live in Nebraska, and I have no children. So, I wonder sometimes why I want to protect land in New York that I cannot pass on to my family. I’m not exactly sure what the answer is, but I am extremely happy that I have been able to preserve a small piece of this beautiful part of the world for future generations of New Yorkers… Nebraskans… and anyone else.”
A gathering in memory of Tom will be held at Houston Pond in the F.R. Newman Arboretum of Cornell Botanic Gardens in Ithaca in the spring. The Land Trust will also be dedicating a hiking trail in Tom’s memory at its Thayer Preserve in Ithaca. More information about the dedication and memorial service is forthcoming. Tom’s full obituary here.