F.L. Land Trust pursuing largest private shoreline in the Finger Lakes
FINGER LAKES – Governor Kathy Hochul has reached an agreement with New York State Electric & Gas Corp. (NYSEG) to cancel a planned October auction to sell Bell Station to the highest bidder. The 470-acre property, located on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake, is the largest remaining stretch of unprotected private shoreline in the Finger Lakes.
The Finger Lakes Land Trust has been pursuing the conservation of the property for a number of years. Its interest is shared by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) which has designated the FLLT as its agent to pursue acquisition of the land.
Shortly after the auction was announced in early September, the FLLT urged the community to contact state officials, calling for its cancellation due to the risk of losing the property to development. Bell Station features wooded hillsides overlooking the lake, extensive fields, and several small streams with cascading waterfalls. Acquisition of the site for conservation will greatly enhance public access to the east side of Cayuga Lake, which is 90% privately owned.
The FLLT intends to work together with the DEC, the Town of Lansing, Tompkins County, and other key stakeholders to acquire the land and create a public wildlife management area on the lakeshore portion of the property. The wildlife management area will be owned by the state and managed by the DEC for a variety of recreational uses including hiking, cross country skiing, wildlife watching, hunting, and fishing. The organization is also exploring the feasibility of utilizing the easternmost portion of the property for solar energy production. More information can be found at fllt.org/savebellstation.
"This is terrific news for the Finger Lakes,” said Executive Director Andy Zepp. “We are grateful to the leadership of Governor Kathy Hochul, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, Public Service Commission Chair John Howard, State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid, and NYSEG CEO Carl Taylor for helping to ensure the future of this lakeside gem. All residents of the region and the state will benefit from the conservation of this special place."
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected over 27,0000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The FLLT owns and manages a network of over 45 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 163 properties that remain in private ownership.
The FLLT 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 residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.
Information on the region’s premier destinations for outdoor recreation may be found at www.gofingerlakes.org a resource created by the FLLT to encourage people to get outdoors. Additional information about the Finger Lakes Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.