Conservation, tourism projects get funding from the state

The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced it was awarded $62,000 in grant funding through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program. The program is funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

A total of $2.3 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants were awarded to 51 nonprofit land trusts across New York. “Land conservation is an essential tool that provides immeasurable environmental and economic benefits for New Yorkers and visitors alike,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, financial support from the Environmental Protection Fund, and the hard work of New York’s land trusts, the Conservation Partnership Program continues to improve our quality of life while protecting valuable natural resources and state lands.”

The Land Trust was awarded $40,000 to support strategic planning of a region-wide land protection campaign. The organization is increasing their efforts to protect land and water across the region. The proposed campaign will include funds for conservation as well as educational programs.

An additional $22,000 was granted to the Land Trust to invest in public access improvements at its popular Sweedler and Thayer Preserves along Lick Brook Gorge. The preserve, which experiences a high volume of visitors, connects to Treman and Buttermilk State Parks. Funds were awarded to increase trail stability and safety, and to improve visitor experience. Grant funding for this project was also provided by the Fields Pond Foundation, the Legacy Foundation, and the Tompkins County Tourism Grant Program.

“We’re grateful for the continued support of the New York State Conservation Partnership Program,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “The program is really having a positive impact on the Finger Lakes region.”

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the organization has protected more than 21,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust owns and manages a network of over 30 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 135 properties that remain in private ownership.

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