Top 10 Strategies

Photo: Bill Hecht

A Conservation Agenda for the Finger Lakes Region

Bold new report highlights 10 strategies for permanently protecting the priceless lands and waters of our region

The Finger Lakes Land Trust, in consultation with over 40 organizations, has identified 10 strategies for seizing timely opportunities, countering active threats, and securing the lands and waters that sustain agriculture, tourism, and quality of life.  The illustrated report, Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever, is available free online so you can download digital copies, request free print copies, and see success stories.  Please visit fllt.org/top10 and share with friends who love the Finger Lakes.

3-IMG_2468

The strategies were developed through a review of natural resource inventories and conservation plans, coupled with outreach to public conservation agencies, planning departments, watershed groups, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and other stakeholders.

The 10 strategies are grouped into 3 themes:

Protect Our Lakes, Streams, and Drinking Water

  • Buffer Our Streams & Create New Wetlands
  • Save Our Last Undeveloped Shoreline Now
  • Protect the City of Syracuse Drinking Water Supply
  • more about this theme

Save Farms, Wineries, and Rural Character

  • Save Threatened Farms & Wineries
  • Protect Scenic Vistas & Designated Byways on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes
  • Maintain Rural Character Through Stronger Land Use Planning
  • more about this theme

Keep Nature Wild and Enhance Public Access

  • Create the Canandaigua Skyline Trail
  • Complete Cayuga Lake’s Emerald Necklace
  • Create the Chemung River Greenbelt
  • Save the South End of Skaneateles Lake
  • more about this theme

What can you do?

If you love the Finger Lakes region, please take a moment to read Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever.  You can download a digital copy at fllt.org/top10 and request free print copies.  Please share with friends who love our lands and waters, and consider supporting the Finger Lakes Land Trust by becoming a member and getting involved at our events and volunteer opportunities.

 

Get your copy of our top 10 conservation strategies for the Finger Lakes!

fllt.org/top10 Sign Up

Hanging Falls!

A Birdseye View of Carpenter Falls Unique Area

In your travels around the Finger Lakes, be sure to visit the western shores of Skaneateles Lake, where you will find Bahar Preserve and Carpenter Falls.  The Finger Lakes Land Trust conveyed 36 acres of these lands to New York State, creating the Carpenter Falls Unique Area, while the remaining 51 acres of land downstream toward the lake continue to be owned and managed as the Land Trust’s Bahar Nature Preserve.  The Land Trust has entered into a cooperative management agreement with the state, engaging volunteers to help take care of this special place.

To find other outdoor adventures near Carpenter Falls, see the interactive map.

See what people are saying about this video on Facebook.

Do you have great videos or photos of nature in the Finger Lakes?

Want to share with the Land Trust?

If so, please email us at gofingerlakes@fllt.org.

Watch more nature videos on the Land Trust web site!

Go to fllt.org/video Sign Up

Chemung Fog & Sun

Photo: Bill Hecht

A Brilliant Autumn Day on the Chemung River

See this beautiful stretch of Chemung River between Bottcher’s Landing and Fitches Bridge as the classic morning fog burns off to reveal a stunning landscape of hillsides, farms, and forests, including conservation lands protected by the Finger Lakes Land Trust and other organizations.

To find other outdoor adventures near the Chemung River, such as the Steege Hill Nature Preserve, see the interactive map.

Please join the conversation about this video on Facebook.

Do you have great videos or photos of nature in the Finger Lakes?

Want to share with the Land Trust?

Please email us at gofingerlakes@fllt.org.

Watch more nature videos on the Land Trust web site!

Go to fllt.org/video Sign Up

Over the Boardwalk

Photo: Bill Hecht

Watch more nature videos on the Land Trust web site!

Go to fllt.org/video Sign Up

Aerial FLX!

Photo: Bill Hecht

Favorite Airplane Photos of the Finger Lakes

Here are some of our favorite aerial photos of the lakes and natural areas across the region, sent by volunteers of the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  Help us save more land and water!

Thanks to our volunteers for sharing!

Do you have great photos and videos of our region?

Want to share with the Finger Lakes Land Trust?

Please contact us at gofingerlakes@fllt.org.

Your imagery can help advance conservation through our communications and outreach on the web, social media, print and more!

Join the conservation conversation…

Land Trust on Facebook Sign Up

Nature & Access

Photo: Kelly Makosch

PART OF OUR REGIONAL CONSERVATION AGENDA

Keep Nature Wild & Enhance Public Access

Theme 3 from our report on strategies for permanently protecting the priceless lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region

Here we share the third set of strategies from Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever, our full illustrated report which you can find on our web site at fllt.org/top10.

The southern expanse of the Finger Lakes region features wild lands known for rugged gorges, rolling forests, sparkling waters, and diverse wildlife.  Wide-ranging mammals including black bears and fishers roam the hills. Tourists and residents enjoy existing conservation lands where they find majestic waterfalls, panoramic lake views, and quiet hiking trails.

There are many places worthy of protection, but we believe that the greatest impact can be achieved by focusing conservation efforts on the south ends of Canandaigua Lake and Skaneateles Lake; the Emerald Necklace surrounding the south end of Cayuga Lake; and, a stretch of the Chemung River just east of Corning.

For each of these focus areas, the Land Trust aims to partner with a broad coalition of public and private stakeholders to knit together conservation corridors with an eye to protecting waterways, linking conserved lands, and building trails.

spreadnature1

The conservation strategies in this theme:

Create the Canandaigua Skyline Trail

Establish a corridor of conserved lands extending from the shores of Canandaigua Lake to the summit of Bare Hill and southward to the village of Naples — expanding the “nature nearby” opportunities for Rochester residents and visitors to the western Finger Lakes.

Complete Cayuga Lake’s Emerald Necklace

Secure the Finger Lakes Trail and adjacent natural lands within an 80-mile arc of public open space surrounding the southern end of Cayuga Lake.

Create the Chemung River Greenbelt

Create a world-class assemblage of riverfront parks, conservation lands, and agricultural lands bordering the Chemung River between Corning and Elmira — providing a variety of recreational opportunities.

Save the South End of Skaneateles Lake

Create a ridge-to-ridge greenbelt that hosts a regional multiuse trail network and helps ensure water quality within Skaneateles Lake.

What you can do

If you love the Finger Lakes region, please take a moment to read Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever.  You can download a digital copy at fllt.org/top10 and request free print copies.  Please share with friends who love our lands and waters, and consider supporting the Finger Lakes Land Trust by becoming a member and getting involved at our events and volunteer opportunities.

Get your copy of our top 10 conservation strategies for the Finger Lakes!

fllt.org/top10 Sign Up

Beavers & Biodiversity

Photo: Lang Elliott

Beavers at Work on the Lindsay-Parsons Preserve

See how beavers have shaped the wetlands at our biodiversity preserve south of Ithaca.

Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve is owned and managed by the Finger Lakes Land Trust as the world’s first temperate-zone preserve for research in biodiversity and chemical ecology.  Scientists and students at Cornell University have used the preserve to study the chemical interactions of organisms there.

Owing to the size and diversity of this preserve, it is ideal for use by area colleges and schools for different educational purposes.  In addition, the preserve may be used by the public for hiking, skiing, birding, and nature walks.  It also provides a place for quiet contemplation.

To find other outdoor adventures near Lindsay-Parsons, see the interactive map.

Join the conversation about this video on Facebook.

Do you have great videos or photos of wildlife in the Finger Lakes?

Want to share with the Land Trust?

Please email us at gofingerlakes@fllt.org.

Watch more nature videos on the Land Trust web site!

Go to fllt.org/video Sign Up

Finger Lakes Trail

Photo: Robert Teitelbaum

Over 950 Miles Long and Covering Some of the Most Scenic Land in New York

Since 1962, the Finger Lakes Trail Conference has worked to build a continuous footpath across New York State.

Here on Gofingerlakes.org, you can learn about the following locations which contain portions of the Finger Lakes Trail.

The Finger Lakes Trail system runs from Allegheny State Park on the Pennsylvania border to the Catskill Forest Preserve, with branch trails to Niagara Falls, the Genesee River valley, the Great Eastern Trail, the central Finger Lakes, and the Syracuse region.  This system is built and maintained almost entirely by volunteers.  The Finger Lakes Trail Conference (FLTC) invites you to hike the trail and volunteer to keep it beautiful; see their site for maps and tools.

See some of our Favorite Hikes on the Finger Lakes Trail.

Happy exploring!

Be a Trailblazer – help us build new nature preserves!

Volunteer! Sign Up

Lakes & Streams

Photo: Chuck Feil

PART OF OUR REGIONAL CONSERVATION AGENDA

Protect Our Lakes, Streams & Drinking Water

Theme 1 from our report on strategies for permanently protecting the priceless lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region

Here we share the first set of strategies from Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever, our fully illustrated report which you can find on our web site at fllt.org/top10.

The eleven Finger Lakes are the lifeblood of the region.  They provide drinking water for one million residents while attracting tourists from around the world.  The lakes define local culture and traditions, creating bonds among families and communities that are cherished for a lifetime.

The lakes have long been known for their clean waters. In recent years, however, nutrient-laden runoff, exacerbated by a warming climate, has resulted in declining water quality.  Five of eleven lakes reported significant outbreaks of toxic algae in 2015 — resulting in health alerts warning against swimming and drinking the impacted water.  Toxic algae can cause nausea; skin, eye, and throat irritation; and breathing difficulties.  It is harmful for wildlife, pets, and humans.

Today, the stakes are high to save our remaining pristine lakeshore as development pressures increase. Soil erosion from farm fields and contamination from lakeshore septic systems both increase the likelihood of future toxic algal blooms. All 11 lakes are at risk. Let’s save our lakes by aggressively countering these threats.

spread1

The conservation strategies in this theme:

Buffer Our Streams & Create New Wetlands

Create permanent streamside buffers on farms and other lands that directly affect water quality for towns and cities across the region. Support a systematic effort to restore and create wetlands to filter runoff and protect our waters while providing valuable wildlife habitat.

Save Our Last Undeveloped Shoreline Now

Protect our last wild shoreline through the acquisition of parks and conservation land as well as the use of conservation easements (perpetual legal agreements that limit development while keeping land in private ownership).

Protect the City of Syracuse Drinking Water Supply

Restore the successful program that used conservation easements to secure environmentally sensitive lands adjacent to Skaneateles Lake, the primary drinking water supply for Syracuse residents.

What you can do

If you love the Finger Lakes region, please take a moment to read Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever.  You can download a digital copy at fllt.org/top10 and request free print copies.  Please share with friends who love our lands and waters, and consider supporting the Finger Lakes Land Trust by becoming a member and getting involved at our events and volunteer opportunities.

Get your copy of our top 10 conservation strategies for the Finger Lakes!

fllt.org/top10 Sign Up

Trail Etiquette

Photo: Chris Olney

How to Be a Good Traveler on Your Nature Outings

Land trails and waterways are shared by people, animals, and plants – and human visitors should observe a few best practices.

The locations featured on Gofingerlakes.org are owned and managed by various organizations; please follow the regulations at each location.  Also see our page about safety and disclaimers.  Generally, at all locations, a good maxim for visiting protected natural areas is found on Finger Lakes Land Trust signs:

Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Here are other best practices for your outdoor adventures.

Hikers and bikers

As a general rule, bikers should yield to hikers, and both must yield to equestrians (see below).  On trails where mountain biking and hiking are permitted, it is important for bikers and hikers to be aware of their surroundings.  This is especially true for bikers racing down steep descents and around sharp turns.  Here, the hiker has the right of way, and bikers must pay close attention to the trail ahead.

However, as with all rules, there are some grey areas.  If a biker is riding up a steep hill and a hiker is walking down, the friendly thing for the hiker to do is step off the trail and let the biker pass.

Horses

Equestrians always get the right-of-way.  If you are on the trail and see a horse approaching, whether you are on foot or bike, stop moving and step aside to give the horse and rider a chance to pass.  Make sure you step fully off the path, on the downhill side if possible, giving the horse plenty of space.  Speak softly to the horse and rider as they approach and do not make any sudden movements when the horse passes.

When approaching a horse and rider from behind, announce your presence from as far away as possible so you don’t startle the horse.  Only pass when the rider says that it is safe.  Dogs should always be leashed and kept as far away from the horse as possible.

Uphill vs. downhill

Generally, downhill traffic yields to uphill traffic.  If you are hiking uphill, you get the right-of-way. Similarly, bikers climbing up the trails get the right-of-way over bikers on their way down.

Dogs

If you bring along your four-legged friends, keeping them leashed and under control is essential for the safety and enjoyment of all.  In many locations it is the official rule, but in all locations it is a best practice.

Pack in, pack out

This one is so obvious that it need not be mentioned.  Except that it needs to be mentioned — because once in a while you still see human garbage laying around a natural area.  Of course, people sometimes leave items by accident, such as water bottles, so do a mental inventory of your belongings and leave the place as clean as you found it — or better!

Collecting

In some locations, collecting fossils and other treasures is expressly forbidden.  But even where there is no posted rule, it’s a great idea to leave nature alone for the enjoyment of those who will come after you.  Even future generations!

No bushwacking

Stay on the marked trails and designated areas.  That’s the best way to stay safe AND avoid trampling delicate plant life and fragile insect homes.  It only takes a few people to casually start a new trail by bushwacking off the main trail, and before you know it a new part of the forest or wetland is getting heavily traveled.  Please let the official land stewards determine where trails should be.

Private property

Many landowners are serious about their private property.  Take a moment to read the local trail signs and get familiar with the lay of the land.  Sometimes, even if you feel like you are on a designated trail, you can wander onto private lands.  Be smart and respect property rights, not least because many private property owners are the key to conservation in the Finger Lakes region — by donating easements and otherwise being good stewards of their own land.

Let’s care for our trails and open new nature preserves!

Join the Land Trust Sign Up