Finger Lakes Land Trust acquires 13 acres on Bare Hill

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today that it has acquired a 13.5-acre parcel located near the summit of Bare Hill – an iconic landmark on the east side of Canandaigua Lake. The property is located on Van Epps Road in the Town of Middlesex, Yates County – adjacent to the entrance to New York State's Bare Hill Unique Area.

The Land Trust identified the parcel as a priority for protection due to its location near the summit of the hill and next to the primary entrance to the State Unique Area. The organization intends to sell the property to the State as an addition to the Unique Area at some point in the future when funds are available. The property is entirely forested with a mix of oak-hickory forest and planted conifers.

Bare Hill is well known in the area as the scenic ridge that rises 865 feet above Canandaigua Lake's eastern shore just north of Vine Valley. Old photos show that the area was indeed "bare" in the past but today it is largely forested, except for its summit which is covered with a mix of meadows and shrub lands. One Seneca legend has it that the writhing of a great serpent swept the hill of its trees and bushes until it was bare. Whatever the cause, Bare Hill is notable for its shallow soils that are susceptible to drought stress most summers.

The Land Trust was able to take advantage of this opportunity through a generous donation of funds from an anonymous donor who cares deeply about the future of Canandaigua Lake and its surrounding rural landscapes. This is the second project the Land Trust has completed at Bare Hill. In 2007, the organization worked in partnership with the Town of Gorham and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to acquire a 95-acre parcel on Bare Hill's northern flank.

Elsewhere in the Canandaigua Lake Watershed, the Land Trust worked with partners to complete five other land protection projects during 2012: the protection of two farms in Canandaigua and a hillside meadow in South Bristol through the use of conservation easements (perpetual legal agreements that limit development while allowing the land to remain in private ownership); the acquisition of streamside wetlands in partnership with the Town of Canandaigua, and the acquisition of a 32-acre addition to the organization's Great Hill Nature Preserve in the Town of Italy, Yates County.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a membership supported, not for profit land conservation organization that was established in 1989 to work cooperatively with landowners and local communities to permanently protect those lands that are vital to the integrity of the 12-county Finger Lakes Region. To date, the organization has conserved more than 15,000 acres of the region's undeveloped shoreline, rugged gorges, majestic farmland, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust today owns and manages a network of 30 nature preserves that are open to the public, and holds 100 conservation easements on lands that remain in private ownership. Additional information about the Land Trust may be obtained by visiting www.fllt.org or by calling 607-275-9487.