CANANDAIGUA — The Finger Lakes Land Trust has launched a $650,000 campaign to establish a 90-acre public conservation area on the east side of Canandaigua Lake in the town of Canandaigua off Route 21.
The Ithaca-based land trust is raising the necessary funding to not only purchase the 90 acres outright but to also acquire two conservation easements on 11 adjacent acres, create public access and contribute to its stewardship fund to support the site’s long-term management.
The property is known for its scenic views of the lake, diverse wildlife habitats and location near the head of Barnes Gully. The gully has an existing network of hiking trails that provides access to open fields, oak and hickory woods and a portion of the gully.
“Acquisition of this property will help protect Canandaigua Lake’s long-term management plan that will guide public access improvements, building on the existing trail system and scenic overlooks,” said Edie Jodz, assistant director of development for the land trust.
The land trust plans to work with the town of Canandaigua on the future possibility of linking this conservation area to nearby Onanda and McJannett parks.
The conservation easements would buffer the 90-acre preserve and limit future development while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls. Landowners who donate conservation easements may be eligible for state and federal tax benefits.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Andrew Zepp, land trust executive director. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to secure one of the most scenic spots while, at the same time, protect valuable wildlife habitat and help to maintain Canandaigua Lake’s water quality.”
The land trust also has worked with Ontario County to create Grimes Glen County Park in South Bristol to create Carolabarb Park and has protected seven properties on the slopes of Bare Hill, all within the Canandaigua Lake watershed. The land trust also has worked cooperatively with landowners and local communities to protect more than 3,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forests and scenic farmland.