Local organization acquires ‘forested acres’ in Cortland County

The green-shaded area is the Finger Lakes Land Trust-owned Hinchcliff Family Preserve and the High Vista Nature Preserve. The purple square shown in the diagram are the forested acres that the FLLT recently acquired. (Photo provided by the Finger Lakes Land Trust).

A local organization recently acquired six forested acres in Cortland County, which expands the “network of conserved lands” at the south end of Skaneateles Lake.

According to a release by Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT), the organization’s acquisition is forested land in the town of Scott.

“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 release states.

The release notes that FLLT has been expanding the High Vista Preserve and its 303-acre Hinchcliff Family Preserve in Spafford, a town in Onondaga County, by securing “key parcels of surrounding land.”

Last year, FLLT added 28 acres to the Hinchcliff Preserve. This helped to moderate a new hiking trail on a 75-acre property, which FLLT added to the preserve in 2020.

FLLT has made it a priority to extend protection to “this environmentally sensitive area.”

“The steeply sloping hillsides are vital to the health of Skaneateles Lake,” the release states, noting the lake is the source for drinking water in the city of Syracuse.

The High Vista Nature Preserve can be accessed from a trailhead on Vincent Hull Road in Scott, or from within the Hinchcliff Preserve. Hikers can now travel over 4.5 miles within the two preserves.

“The trails are open during daylight hours for quiet nature observation and low-impact recreation such as hiking and trail running,” the release states.

The release continues by saying the FLLT is working to “create a greenbelt of protected lands around the southern half” of Skaneateles Lake, extending from Route 41 on the east side to 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.

About Finger Lakes Land Trust

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 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.