The Finger Lakes Land Trust has announced that it has protected 51 acres in Tompkins County through a conservation easement donated by Ellen Harrison. The property is situated on Ellis Hollow Road in the town of Caroline and features forested hills, open farmland, and a pond, all of which define the property purchased by Ellen and her late husband, Rick, in 1999.
The protected property is significant as it is situated in the headwaters of Six Mile Creek, which is a public drinking water source for the city of Ithaca. The property also features 1,300 feet of frontage on the Thomas Road Wetlands, which is a Tompkins County-designated Unique Natural Area. The conservation easement provides an 18-acre environmental protection zone that will safeguard the wetland and provide critical protection to Six Mile Creek and Cayuga Lake further downstream.
The property is located in proximity to three other private properties that have been protected with conservation easements held by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Other protected lands in the area include the organization’s Ellis Hollow and Roy H. Park preserves and Hammond Hill State Forest.
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that limit future land use permanently to protect the land’s conservation value. The lands subject to conservation easements remain in private ownership, on local tax rolls, and available for traditional uses such as farming and hunting.
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 organization owns and manages a network of over 45 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 176 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. It also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.
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