Photo: Brian Maley

Land Trust Launches Six Mile Creek Protection Project

Ithaca, NY – The Finger Lakes Land Trust today announced its plans to acquire 128 acres along Midline Road in the town of Dryden with the intention of retaining it as conservation land. The parcel is located in an ecologically sensitive area, containing over 900 feet of frontage on Six Mile Creek – the source of Ithaca’s drinking water – and more than 11,000 feet of additional frontage on tributaries to the creek.

Photo: Brian Maley

Photo: Brian Maley

In addition to its extensive frontage, this pending acquisition features 12 acres of wetlands as well as meadows and mature woodlands. The tract encompasses portions of two county-designated Unique Natural Areas and also features a scenic overlook on Six Mile Creek that is accessed via a hiking trail from the Land Trust’s nearby Roy H. Park Preserve.

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This project provides a unique opportunity to protect Ithaca’s drinking water supply, conserve county-designated natural areas, and secure a unique destination for outdoor recreation. The proposed acquisition is part of a growing complex of conserved land that includes the Land Trust’s nearby Roy H. Park Preserve, Cornell University’s Old 600 Natural Area, Hammond Hill State Forest, and Yellow Barn State Forest.

This latest acquisition is located within the Emerald Necklace Greenbelt – an ambitious effort to link 50,000 acres of existing public open space that extends in an arc around Ithaca. The Emerald Necklace is recognized as a priority project within New York State’s Open Space Plan.

This will be the Land Trust’s fifth acquisition on Upper Six Mile Creek. The organization also holds 15 conservation easements on properties located within the watershed of Ithaca’s drinking water supply.

“This is an incredible opportunity for conservation,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “It’s rare to come across a property of such significance in terms of water quality and ecological integrity, while also providing an outstanding opportunity for outdoor recreation. Everyone who relies on Ithaca’s drinking water supply will benefit from this project.”

The Land Trust has launched a $300,000 fundraising campaign to cover the purchase price, associated transaction costs, and a contribution to the organization’s Stewardship Fund to provide for long term management and monitoring.  Tompkins County has already committed $25,000 to the project through an allocation from its Capital Reserve Fund for Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Resource Protection, and the City of Ithaca is considering an allocation of $25,000 from its Six Mile Creek Watershed Protection Fund.

It is presumed that most of the remaining funds needed for the campaign will come from individual donors. As part of this fundraising effort, the Land Trust is holding a variety of events in April. Please join us for the following events:

Chicken-Fried Fundraiser

Tuesday, April 5th from 5:00 – 11:00 pm
Maxie’s Supper Club, 635 West State St., Ithaca
For every Southern-Fried Chicken and BBQ Organic Tofu dinner sold, Maxie’s will donate $5 to the Land Trust. And, with a fresh keg of Bacchus Ale on tap, Maxie’s will donate an additional $1 to the Land Trust for each pint sold. Come on out for some chicken eatin’ and beer drinkin’ and free live music from 6-10 pm by Pete Panek and The Blue Cats.

Let’s Drink to Clean Drinking Water!

Wednesday, April 20 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm
The Westy, 516 West State St., Ithaca
Come on out for Happy Hour at The Westy in downtown Ithaca in support of our Six Mile Creek Protection Project. We will have a raffle items and Land Trust staff will provide information about the project and answer any questions you might have.

Earth Day Yoga Class

Friday, April 22 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Mighty Yoga, 106 West State St., Ithaca
Come get your bliss on at Mighty Yoga with Zainab Zakari in support of our Six Mile Creek Protection Project! Register on Mighty Yoga’s web site. Suggested minimum donation of $20.

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The Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected more than 18,000 acres of our region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, majestic forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust today owns and manages a network of nature preserves that are open to the public and holds conservation easements on more than 120 properties that remain in private ownership.

The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat and land that is important for water quality, connecting conserved lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation tools and the region’s unique natural resources. The Land Trust’s service area includes 12 counties that encompass the Finger Lakes and a significant portion of the Southern Tier. Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.

There has been generous support for this project already! Thanks so far to: Tompkins County Capital Reserve Fund for Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Resource Protection, the City of Ithaca, Tompkins Charitable Gift Fund, Tompkins Trust Company, the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, the RAP [Regenerative Activities and Projects] Fund of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, the Tom and Maria Eisner Fund of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, Dorothy Rinaldo and many committed individuals who are helping protect these beautiful lands and waters.