The Finger Lakes Land Trust will be delivering a presentation to the Lansing Town Council on the potential acquisition and preservation of the Cayuga Cliffs land and water at a meeting on July 17.
Director of Conservation Max Heitner will be presenting the organization’s project to the board. Heitner said the organization still has a long way to go in terms of purchasing the property and outlining a management plan, but wanted to ask the board if it would support the project and an application for a New York State Parks Environmental Protection Fund grant through a written resolution.
“That grant funding would be used towards both the acquisition of the property as well as funds for management of the property,” Heitner said.
The property that the organization hopes to purchase is located off of Ridge Road, directly across Cayuga Lake from Taughannock Falls State Park.
He said the current land owners plan on selling about 193 acres of the property to the organization, which will open to the public a few years after the purchase of the land. The owners will also be donating a conservation easement on the 40 acres of private land that they will be retaining, which means they will have an agreement with the Finger Lakes Land Trust that the organization must keep track of and maintain the conservation value of the land.
“This property is unique in a few ways,” Heitner said. “Number one is conserving the undeveloped viewshed for Taughannock Falls State Park, being directly across the lake from Taughannock Falls State Park. The property features multiple gorge waterfalls, has panoramic lakeside views, mixed deciduous hardwood forests, open fields. It features about 4,000 feet of undeveloped lake frontage, what we like to call ‘railroad’ or ‘railside’ lake frontage … it really is a pristine setting on the east side of Cayuga Lake.”
When the land is purchased, Heitner said the only construction that will be done will be for a gravel parking lot off of Route 34B, an entrance kiosk, and a hiking trail. He said the preserve will be quite beneficial to the members of the community.
“Eventually, when there is public access is allowed the property, it will really serve as an improvement to the quality of life for residents of Lansing and Tompkins County as a beautiful place for all to come visit eventually once that aspect is open,” he said.