The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced “Finger Lakes Forever,” a $20 million dollar capital campaign to protect lands and waters across the region. The organization is focusing on protecting the steep hillsides and pristine shorelines that ensure water quality in the Finger Lakes.
The organization has already raised $18 million and is grateful for this critical early support. Campaign funds have enabled the FLLT to open several new nature preserves to the public, expand existing conservation areas across the region, and acquire lands in partnership with local and state agencies.
Over the course of the next year, the FLLT plans to protect an additional 2,000 acres and 4,400 feet of lakeshore through direct land acquisitions and perpetual conservation easements. Featured projects include the acquisition of the Bell Station property on Cayuga Lake; the creation of three new public access points to the popular Finger Lakes Trail; protecting Seneca Lake shoreline; and securing key parcels within the Canandaigua and Skaneateles lake watersheds. Through these efforts, the organization will also secure 21 miles of streambank and initiate restoration projects to help filter runoff.
In addition to funding land and water conservation projects and the FLLT’s annual operations, the campaign will also build the organization’s Stewardship Fund to fulfill the promise of permanent protection. To learn more about current projects included in the campaign, visit fllt.org/forever.
“The health of our lakes depends on the health of our land,” said Dave Birchenough, President of the FLLT Board of Directors. “The Finger Lakes Forever campaign will help ensure the Finger Lakes region retains its beauty and vitality for generations to come.”
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 28,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The FLLT owns and manages a network of over 45 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 170 properties that remain in private ownership.
The FLLT focuses on protecting critical habitat for fish and wildlife, conserving lands that are important for water quality, connecting existing conservation lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.
Information on the region’s premier destinations for outdoor recreation may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a resource created by the FLLT to encourage people to get outdoors. Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at http://www.fllt.org.
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