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Land acquisition expands network of conserved lands at south end of Skaneateles Lake

  • / Updated:
  • Concetta Durso 

The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) announced the recent acquisition of six forested acres in the town of Scott, Cortland County. The property shares a boundary with the organization’s High Vista Nature Preserve and will be added to the conservation area, expanding it to 153 acres of publicly accessible lands.

The FLLT has been steadily expanding the High Vista Preserve, and its contiguous 303-acre Hinchcliff Family Preserve in Spafford, by securing key parcels of surrounding land. Just last year, the organization added 28 acres to the Hinchcliff Preserve, buffering a new hiking trail on a 75-acre property the FLLT added to the preserve in June 2020.

Extending protection in this environmentally sensitive area is a priority for the FLLT, as the steeply sloping hillsides are vital to the health of Skaneateles Lake—the source of drinking water for the city of Syracuse.

The preserve can be accessed from a trailhead on Vincent Hill Road or from within the Hinchcliff Preserve, and ambitious hikers may now travel over 4.5 miles within the two. The trails are open during daylight hours for quiet nature observation and low-impact recreation such as hiking and trail running.

The FLLT is working to create a greenbelt of protected lands around the southern half of Skaneateles Lake, extending from State Route 41 on the east side to State Route 41A on the west side. Other publicly accessible conservation lands in the area include Carpenter Falls State Unique Area, Bear Swamp State Forest, and the Land Trust’s Bahar Nature Preserve and Cora Kampfe Dickinson Conservation Area.

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By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 29,000 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 172 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 online, a resource created by the FLLT to encourage people to get outdoors. Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found here.