Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve
The Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve consists of 390 acres of lakes, forests, meadows, brushland, gorges, streams and wetlands. Thirty-six and a half acres were given to the Finger Lakes Land Trust by Tompkins County, while the remainder has been purchased from private landowners.
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Today the hemlocks rise from shady depths of the gullies, the white pines and red pines soar above the younger maples, and the majestic oaks spread their wide branches over quiet groves.
Over 100 years ago, after the Frosttown sawmills of the Brisol Hills fell silent, white pine, hemlock and oak seedlings began to sprout along the northern rim of Briggs Gully, one of the Finger Lakes Region’s largest gorges. These young trees were tall and strong and in 1926 when three artists-John C. Wenrich, James Havens, and Colburn Dugan- bought this 90-acre piece of paradise as a place for peace, quiet, and contemplation. Today the hemlocks rise from shady depths of the gullies, the white pines and red pines soar above the younger maples, and the majestic oaks spread their wide branches over quiet groves. Except for the maturing of the trees, little has changed since the 1920’s.
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The 14-acre Whitlock Preserve is on the west shore of Cayuga Lake, just south of Poplar Beach in the Town of Romulus. It consists of successional hardwood forest, with nearly 500 feet of undisturbed lakefront. The preserve was donated to the Land Trust by Mrs. Louisa C. Whitlock and her family.
The preserve is entirely forested, with mature hardwoods and hemlock on the slopes near the lake, and young forest on the portion closest to Route 89.
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“The Thurber preserve has among the most lush and diverse ground covers of spring wildflowers, ferns, and native yew of any place I know of in this area, ” writes Betsy Darlington, Director of Land Protection.
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Lick Brook has several large waterfalls, one of which is over 140 feet high. One of the most heavily used portions of the Finger Lakes Trail runs through the preserve, along the north rim of Lick Brook Gorge.
In the early 1990s, The Finger Lakes Land Trust approached the then-owner of Lick Brook, Moss Sweedler, and asked about getting some sort of protection. After a couple of years, Sweedler called the Land Trust with an unusual offer: He proposed that the Land Trust find a pond for him to swim in with his two dogs, about 10 minutes away from downtown Ithaca. When the Land Trust finally found a suitable pond, Sweedler bought it, and the Land Trust paid him the same amount for Lick Brook as he paid for the pond–an amount that was far below the market value of the Lick Brook property.
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There are some white pine trees that are estimated to be 150 years old, and hemlocks estimated to be 150-200 years old.
The 25-acre Stevenson Preserve is a diverse, nearly “old growth” forest, with some areas of original stand density. This land may be as close as you will ever get to forest as it was in this region prior to white settlement. The Stevenson Preserve was donated to the Finger Lakes Land Trust by Elizabeth Stevenson Bennett.
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As you sit next to a remote brook nestled in a hemlock-lined ravine, you get the feeling of being in the most untouched of forests. Listening to the melodious song of the Winter Wren, you’d never think that as recently as the 1970s, much of this 794-acre tract was nearly devastated.
Now, at the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s Steege Hill Nature Preserve, there are numerous trails to walk and observe the abundant wildlife. In the winter, these trails are excellent for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
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In 1998, 48 pairs of Cerulean Warblers were found near and in the preserve, along with Scarlet Tanagers, Hooded Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, and host of other birds.
We invite you to meet some special Finger Lakes seasonal residents, the handsome blue and white Cerulean Warblers. These birds weight no more than a few ounces, yet migrate between our area and South America — wintering there, breeding here. Although this species has been declining steadily in parts of its range, the tall trees along Salmon Creek in Lansing provide an oasis where it is thriving. Come listen for their buzzy song!
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The 170 acre Parker Preserve provides habitats for many species as well as a place of serenity and rest for people. Hiking and birdwatching are popular at this preserve.
The Parker Nature Preserve, donated by Gene and Joan Lane, consists of approximately 170 acres and includes mature forest, young forest, meadows, brushland, small wetlands and two small streams. The streams originate on the preserve, and come together just south of the preserve. The Parker Preserve provides habitats for many species as well as a place of serenity and rest for people. Hiking and birdwatching are popular at this preserve.
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The Martin Nature Preserve, donated by Gene and Joan Lane, is comprised of 110-acres of forest, floodplains, wetlands, and streams. The bulk of the preserve is located on both sides of Charles Road, and the west side of Steam Mill Road in the Town of Catharine. A portion of the preserve is on the east side of Steam Mill Road; however, there are no trails in this section of the preserve with the exception of an old farm lane.
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