On Aug. 17, Jason Gorman, Nature Preserve Manager for the Fingerlakes Land Trust (FLT), along with one of the founding board members, Betsy Darlington, led a group of naturalists from Candor and surrounding communities on a trek up Logan Hill Nature Preserve in Candor to celebrate the 30th anniversary of FLT.
Betsy and her spouse, Dick Darlington, donated 290 acres of their property to become the Logan Hill Nature Preserve. This property has been in the Darlington family since 1972, when they were looking for a place to get back to nature and explore, enjoying a place to have camping breaks with their children. At the formal dedication in 2016 there were several generations of the family on hand, leading hiking tours to the dedication site.
Since the dedication there have been many hikes led by FLT members and volunteers. On Aug. 10 a group of volunteers from Candor and other communities along with Darlington and Gorman worked to remove invasive honey suckle and autumn olives to prepare for the 30th anniversary tour.
Invasive honeysuckle has three species that can form a dense populations and can outgrow and suppress the growth of other native species. The autumn olive is a fast growing shrub or small tree that can reach 20 feet tall with small, oval, dark-green leaves that are silvery underneath. It can also spread and suppress the other native plants.
The Town of Candor Highway Department has also worked to smooth out the dirt road that is actually more like a hiking path, but with the rain storms of the 2019 season they have had to keep smoothing it out.
Darlington herself has led many hikes. She has always been a naturalist, and walking the preserve with her as she names every flower and tree and recognizes the songs of each of the birds can be very educational for those who participate. The preserve is a great place for bird watchers and very popular with wildlife photographers.
The Logan Hill Nature Preserve is a beautiful combination of forest and meadows for nature study, cross country skiing, show shoeing and more. The vernal pools at the dedication sight hold a wide variety of aquatic wildlife, insects and plants.
Twelve counties are covered by the Fingerlakes Land Trust, an area about the size of the State of Vermont. Gorman is nature preserve manager for over 45 nature preserves.
The FLT also holds easements, which helps protect the ecological value of land such as the Hiawatha Island in the Susquehanna.
The 30th anniversary celebration for the FLT will continue on free guided hikes at their nature preserves until October. Those interested can learn more at fllt.org/30years. Detailed directions and more can be found at fllt.org/events, or check out their Facebook page.
The FLT is a nonprofit conservation organization; which has worked with landowners and partners cooperatively to protect over 21,000 acres of scenic, natural areas. The FLT also holds over 130 easements on protected lands that remain in private ownership.
The Logan Hill Nature Preserve, which borders the Catatonk Creek and the Village of Candor, offers 2.5 miles of trails, and is open dawn to dusk all year. See fllt.org/logan for a more extensive history, photos and interactive map.