Nature & Access

Photo: Kelly Makosch


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

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.


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 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!