The DEC and Finger Lakes Land Trust recently announced the completion of a 144-acre addition to Danby State Forest! The latest acquisition includes approximately one mile of the Finger Lakes Trail in the town of Danby, permanently protecting a segment of its land.
What the Addition Means
Encompassing 7,651 acres in the towns of Danby, Candor, and Spencer, Danby State Forest protects portions of the Cayuga Lake and Susquehanna River watersheds. With its diverse topography and habitats, the area is popular for hiking, camping, fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing, as well as snowmobiling.
Now 144 additional acres will protect part of the 585-mile Finger Lakes Trail, ensuring the preservation of its wildlife habitat and improving accessibility by removing a road walk. It will also enhance other trail systems and recreation opportunities in Danby State Forest, “connect[ing] people and wildlife to adjacent lands across the landscape,” said DEC Region 7 Director Matthew Marko in a statement.
The state forest is located within the Emerald Necklace, a proposed greenbelt which links 50,000 acres of conservation land stretching from the Finger Lakes National Forest in the west to the Hammond Hill State Forest in the east. The combined land is home to 78 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail, two National Audubon Society-designated Important Bird Areas, numerous Finger Lakes Land Trust Preserves and Conservation Easements, State Forests and Parks, and Tompkins County-designated Unique Natural Areas.
Earlier this year, the DEC purchased the parcel from Finger Lakes Land Trust for $184,100. The parcel belonged to a private land owner before 2017, when it was then purchased by the Land Trust with a loan from the Finger Lakes Trail Conference Sidote Stewardship Fund and a grant from the Tompkins County Capital Reserve Fund for Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Resource Protection.
“This is a great addition to the growing network of conserved lands in the Emerald Necklace,” said Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp in a statement. “We’re grateful for the commitment of the state and Finger Lakes Trail Conference on this project. We simply couldn’t have done it without them.”
Want to learn more about Danby State Forest? Visit the DEC online at dec.ny.gov/lands/64131.html.