The following is a republished press release from the Finger Lakes Land Trust and NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements directly to The Voice, email tips@ithacavoice.com.

Ithaca, NY—The Finger Lakes Land Trust today announced that it has accepted the donation of perpetual conservation easements that will conserve the 470-acre Sheffield Farm on Ithaca’s West Hill.  This extensive property is one of the largest remaining privately owned parcels within the town of Ithaca and features extensive fields and woodlands as well as frontage on State Route 79, Bundy, and Sheffield Roads. 

The property is managed as a horse farm by owners Jan and Susan Suwinski, who reside on the land.  Over the course of more than 40 years, the Suwinskis grew the farm from an original 62-acre parcel through a series of land purchases. 

Image Provided by Finger Lakes Land Trust

Sheffield Farm features a mosaic of meadows, woodlands, and brushland habitat.  A significant portion of the property is located within the headwaters of Coy Glen – a nearby county-designated Unique Natural Area.  The conservation easements will protect the property’s natural and scenic features while providing for continued equestrian and agricultural use.

“With increasing loss of open land in Ithaca, we wanted to be sure our farm retained its natural state,” says Jan Suwinski.  “We have been long-time supporters of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and are proud to have protected our land with conservation easements.”

“The Town of Ithaca is very grateful to the Suwinski family for donating conservation easements to the Land Trust to protect their valuable farmland from development pressure,” said Ithaca Town Supervisor Bill Goodman.  “Their generous gift will help preserve this large open space for generations to come.”

The Land Trust intends to build upon this gift by working with the Town of Ithaca and other partners to create the West Hill Wildway – a greenbelt that will ultimately extend from Sheffield Farm to Robert Treman State Park.  The greenbelt includes existing Town conservation land, a Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Natural Area, undeveloped portions of EcoVillage, and the YMCA’s outdoor education center.

Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that permanently limit future land use in order to protect the land’s conservation value. Lands subject to conservation easements remain in private ownership, on local tax rolls, and available for traditional uses such as farming and hunting.

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected more than 19,000 acres of our region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland.  The Land Trust owns and manages a network of nature preserves that are open to the public and holds conservation easements that protect lands remaining in private ownership.

The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat and lands that are important for water quality, connecting conserved lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.

The Land Trust works across 12 counties that include all 11 Finger Lakes and a significant portion of the Southern Tier.  Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.