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Landmark Acquisition Conserves 1,400 Feet of Cayuga Lake Shoreline

March 8, 2011 | Finger Lakes Land Trust | Ithaca, NY
Landmark Acquisition Conserves 1,400 Feet of Cayuga Lake Shoreline

Photo by Bill Hecht


Contact: Andrew Zepp

Finger Lakes Land Trust Acquires 65-Acre Property


ITHACA, NY -- The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today that it has acquired a 65-acre property featuring 1,400 feet of undeveloped shoreline on Cayuga Lake. The land is located in the Town of Romulus, Seneca County, and is situated across the lake from Wells College and the Village of Aurora. The property features frontage on both sides of the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway and hosts a diversity of wildlife habitats including mature woodlands, meadows, and a rugged gorge.

The property was acquired from the Van Riper and Moran families who have owned the land for many years. They made the land available to the Land Trust for significantly less than its appraised fair market value. The organization was able to purchase the property through lead gifts from several anonymous individuals as well as a low-interest loan from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation.

A fundraising goal of $1.2 million has been set to cover acquisition costs as well as site improvements associated with the provision of public access, and a contribution to the Land Trust’s stewardship fund to support long-term management of the site. To date, the organization has secured $900,000 in gifts and pledges, including a grant of $400,000 from New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

“The state has identified public access to waterfronts as a top priority for land acquisitions in the public interest,” says Tim Joseph, Regional Director for Finger Lakes State Parks. “We’re pleased that this grant is helping to preserve and protect a key piece of undeveloped shoreline on Cayuga Lake and will keep it open for the public to use and enjoy.”
The Van Riper/Moran tract had long been identified as a priority for protection since it borders the Land Trust’s existing Whitlock Nature Preserve. Together, the two properties encompass 1,900 feet of pristine shoreline. During the coming year, the Land Trust will develop a management plan for the two properties that will provide for appropriate public access while ensuring the protection of sensitive habitats. A parking area will be constructed alongside State Route 89 and a hiking trail will be developed at the site.

“This is a tremendous acquisition,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “Residents and visitors alike will soon have the opportunity to visit the shore of Cayuga Lake and see how it looked before settlement. There is very little undeveloped shoreline left and we’re grateful to the Van Riper and Moran families for deciding in favor of conservation rather than development in this case.”

This latest acquisition represents the Land Trust’s second shoreline protection project completed on Cayuga Lake during the past year. In early 2010, the organization accepted a conservation easement on 47 acres of woodland overlooking the Lake in the Town of Lansing. This property remains in private ownership but future development is limited by the perpetual easement agreement.

The Land Trust is also supporting efforts by the planning departments of Cayuga, Seneca, and Tompkins Counties to design and develop a “water trail” that will link conserved lands on the lakeshore as well as businesses that cater to kayakers and canoeists.


About Finger Lakes Land Trust

The Finger Lakes Land Trust was established in 1989 to work cooperatively with landowners and local communities to conserve those lands that define the character of the Finger Lakes Region. The organization has protected more than 12,000 acres of open space through direct acquisition as well as the use of conservation easements on lands that typically remain in private ownership. Additional information on the Land Trust and its fundraising campaign for the Van Riper/ Moran acquisition may be obtained at or by calling its Ithaca office at (607) 275-9487.

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