Photo: Chris Ray

Towns of Canandaigua and Ithaca Recognized as Conservationists of the Year

At its 34th Annual Meeting on June 10, 2023, the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) recognized both the Town of Canandaigua and the Town of Ithaca as its “Conservationists of the Year.” Both municipalities acted quickly to secure significant open space over the course of the past year and continue to build on their ongoing commitment to land and water conservation.

The FLLT recognized the Town of Canandaigua for successfully acquiring a key addition to McJannett Park. The property is located within a planned greenbelt that may ultimately connect the FLLT’s Canandaigua Vista Preserve to the town’s Onanda Park on the western shore of Canandaigua Lake.

People cutting a ribbon at a nature preserve opening ceremony

Canandaigua Town Manager Doug Finch, FLLT board president Dave Birchenough, State Senator Pam Helming, volunteer Marty Dodge, landowners Duannah Barnum and Suzie Underhill, and FLLT Executive Director Andy Zepp at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Canandaigua Vista Nature Preserve in fall 2021. Photo: Kelly Makosch

This recent acquisition continues a partnership between the Town of Canandaigua and the FLLT that includes collaboration on multiple farmland protection projects and the town’s financial support for the FLLT’s acquisition of the Canandaigua Vista Preserve.

The Town of Ithaca was recognized for its creative and timely acquisition of a property bordering the Cayuga Inlet that features significant fish and wildlife habitat. The property is located within the proposed Black Diamond Rail Trail extension that will ultimately connect the city of Ithaca to Robert Treman H. State Park. This is the second property that the town has acquired for conservation in this area.

People cutting a ribbon during the dedication ceremony.

Rod Howe, Town of Ithaca Supervisor, Aveek Majumdar, nephew of Tapan Mitra, Andrew Zepp, FLLT Executive Director, Katie Borgella, Tompkins County Director of Planning & Sustainability, and Polly McClure, President of Cayuga Trails Club, at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the dedication of the Tapan Mitra Preserve in Ithaca on June 10, 2023. Photo: Kelly Makosch

The FLLT and the Town of Ithaca also have a long-standing partnership that includes collaborating on the creation of three town-owned nature preserves as well as the town’s financial support for expanding the FLLT’s Tapan Mitra Preserve and creating public access.

“We are grateful to both of these communities for their commitment to conservation,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “The Land Trust couldn’t possibly succeed in its mission without strong support from communities like Canandaigua and Ithaca.”