The Land Trust has accepted the donation of a conservation easement that will forever conserve 62 acres in the town of Hector, Schuyler County. The easement protects a part of Taughannock Creek, a tributary to Cayuga Lake and the stream that forms the well-known 215-foot drop known as Taughannock Falls.
The property, owned by Richard Paige of Hector, was purchased in 1940 by Richard’s parents. After living elsewhere for much of his adult life, Richard moved back to the property in the mid-1990s with his wife, Nancy Adams, to help care for the land and his elderly parents. Richard built a house and workshop out of local stone and together, he and Nancy planted an extensive garden.
Richard and Nancy also worked tirelessly to establish wildlife habitat on the property. They maintained 20 acres as a hayfield for a local farmer, but only harvested the hay after the breeding season for grassland birds. They established an extensively varied forest plantation on another 20 acres. “I planted a thousand seedlings a year for a number of years,” said Richard. “Not all of them survived, but we’ve got a pretty good forest now.”
The remainder of the property consists of streamside habitat, including 750 feet of frontage on both banks of Taughannock Creek, and an adjacent area that has been gradually reverting from farmland to woods.
Nancy, who was a stewardship volunteer with the Land Trust, passed away last August after a long battle with cancer. “Protecting this land was important to both of us,” said Richard, “and after Nancy passed away, I wanted to make sure to see it through.”