ITHACA, N.Y. — The Finger Lakes Land Trust recently acquired 12 forested acres in the town of Ulysses located between the popular Black Diamond Trail and the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway/New York State Route 89. The property features towering hardwoods, more than 2,000 feet of frontage on the Black Diamond Trail, and more than 1,700 feet of frontage on the Byway.
Protection of the property has been a priority for the Land Trust, Tompkins County and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) because of the natural buffer it provides between the trail and the state highway. The land will ultimately be conveyed to NYSOPRHP as an addition to its holdings when funds become available.
A favorite among cyclists, runners, and cross-country skiers, the Black Diamond is a 10.5-mile multi-use trail that runs from Cass Park in Ithaca to Taughannock Falls State Park in Ulysses. The area between the trail and the Scenic Byway, which offers beautiful views of Cayuga Lake and surrounding farmland and vineyards, has come under increasing development pressure.
Acquisition of the property will build upon cooperative efforts by the Land Trust, NYSOPRHP, Tompkins County, and the Towns of Ulysses and Ithaca to create a natural corridor along the trail. Several years ago, the Land Trust supported NYSOPRHP’s acquisition of 70 acres of forest in this area which included the “missing link” needed to complete this section of the Black Diamond.
“The Black Diamond is a tremendous resource for the community,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “By working together with our partners, we’re creating a greenbelt that will ensure the character of the trail while securing habitat for wildlife and helping to maintain water quality within Cayuga Lake.”
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the organization has protected more than 21,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust owns and manages a network of over 30 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 138 properties that remain in private ownership.
The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat for fish and wildlife, conserving lands that are important for water quality, connecting existing conservation 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.
Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org. Information on the region’s premier destinations for outdoor recreation, including the Black Diamond Trail, may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org, a new website developed by the Land Trust to encourage people to get outdoors.
Featured photo courtesy of Jeff Katris