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Friday, October 16, 2009

Ithaca's "Emerald Necklace" Includes FLT/NCT

hills south of Ithaca
hills south of Ithaca on the FLT/NCT (photo by JHY)

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based on a news article in the Ithaca Journal

The Emerald Necklace Greenbelt is the name for the long-term conservation plan for 50,000 acres surrounding Ithaca, New York. This plan, recommended by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, includes nine state forests, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area and Cornell University's Arnot Forest.

Wending through that area is the Finger Lakes and North Country Trails. Andy Zepp, the Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director, says that the sprawling development patters of the area will create problems.

Preserving a 300 foot wide corridor, for recreation and wildlife, to be obtained through purchases and easements, would help protect 78 miles of the trail. Currently, very few of the FLT trail miles are legally protected. A great many handshake agreements exist, but when land changes hands such casual agreements fall apart.

The Land Trust seeks to protect the entire FLT through conservation easements, donation or purchase of land, and simple easements. No land is claimed through eminent domain, rather the land trust works with land owners.

One goal of the Emerald Necklace is to develop four gateways to a trail system, which includes the FLT/NCT. Proposed locations are:

- In the Town of Hector, Schuyler County, along Route 79, somewhere between the Finger Lakes National Forest and Texas Hollow State Forest.
- In the Town of Ithaca, on state land on the east side of Route 13 across from
- In the Town of Danby, within Jennings Pond Park on Bald Hill Road, near Route 96B.
- In the Town of Richford, Tioga County, along Route 79, somewhere near the Tompkins/Tioga border and Robinson Hollow State Forest.

Finger Lakes Land Trust

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