ITHACA, N.Y.—The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced that it has purchased the 480-acre Bell Station property that features 3,400 feet of shoreline along Cayuga Lake from New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG). The Bell Station property is located in the Town of Lansing in Tompkins County along the eastern shore of the lake, and was the largest privately owned parcel of shoreline left in the Finger Lakes area.

On the property are wooded hillsides, extensive fields and several streams with cascading waterfalls. The acquisition of the land will allow enhanced public access to the lake and safeguard the water quality from harmful algal blooms while preventing development along the shore.

The FLLT has been pursuing the property for a number of years with a shared interested from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Tompkins County, the Town of Lansing, Gov. Kathy Hochul and other stakeholders as well as concerned citizens agreed to cancel the public auction originally scheduled for Oct. 2021 after entering into a purchase agreement with the FLLT.

“This is a tremendous win for the region and everyone who loves the Finger Lakes,” said Andrew Zepp, Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director. “The Bell Station project will help maintain Cayuga Lake’s water quality while providing new opportunities for outdoor recreation and the generation of renewable energy. We are grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul and all of our elected officials and community members who acted together to make this possible.”

The purchase agreement funding included a $2 million loan from the Park Foundation, $500,000 raised via donations and an internal loan from the FLLT’s Opportunity Fund.

The FLLT intends to sell the lakeshore part of the property to the DEC for it to manage for recreational purposes like hiking, wildlife watching and fishing. The FLLT is also partnering with the Town of Lansing to explore options for a 200-acre solar energy farm.

Town of Lansing Supervisor Ed LaVigne said, “Congratulations to Andy Zepp and the staff at the Finger Lakes Land Trust for their hard work. The Town of Lansing is pleased with the purchase of this land. We look forward to continuing to work with the Land Trust and our local businesses to create positive results.”

The FLLT will open Bell Station to the public on an interim basis beginning June 10, 2022, and the public is invited to attend an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. for guided hikes and refreshments.

More information about Bell Station can be found here.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com...