The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) has acquired more than 36 acres in Newfield, a step by the FLLT to continue building the “Emerald Necklace,” a crescent-shaped green belt of preserved land that would extend around Ithaca.
The FLLT spent $36,670 on the land adjacent to Van Kirk Road, a property nestled between the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest and the Charles Spencer Nature Preserve. The land was purchased from Donna Callais, of Newfield, on June 28. The parcel, near Jackson Creek, is part of a wildlife habitat corridor, Executive Director Andy Zepp said.
“We will develop a long term management plan over the course of the next year,” Zepp said. “At this time, we have no plans for major site improvements but it will be open to the public for low impact recreation.”
Pockets of land have been acquired since the 1930s during the Great Depression, when failed farmers abandoned their land. Since then, acquisitions and donations of land have totaled over 50,000 acres of preserved plots, linked by 80 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail. A consolidated piece of land would improve the habitat for many species, especially forest nesting birds and wide ranging mammals, which are less likely to flock to developed areas, according to a brochure.
The FLLT continues to actively recruit land pockets, recently acquiring 104 acres in Chemung County and 20 acres in the Town of Caroline in the last month and a half alone. Its most recent acquisition in Newfield was last November. In its 30 years of operation, the group has preserved more than 200 acres permanently, operating across New York from Rochester to Syracuse.
A non-profit organization, the FLLT is able to make purchases like the one in Newfield through the work of volunteers, donations, and easements that limit development on privately owned land. The group has over 200 volunteers each year, and hosts a variety of events to encourage outside activity.