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Land trust purchases 139 acres in Reading

    READING—The Finger Lakes Land Trust has acquired 139 acres of woodland in Reading in order to preserve it.
    The land, purchased in November, includes frontage on a key tributary to Watkins Glen’s famous gorge.  The property also borders Sugar Hill State Forest on three sides and is located within one of the largest tracts of intact forest remaining in the Finger Lakes region.
    The Land Trust acquired the property from Scott and Cassie Dickerson at the request of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).  The DEC sought to add the land to the adjacent state forest but was unable to move forward with the transaction due to a lack of available funds.  The Land Trust was able to secure an interest-free loan from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation that enabled the organization to complete the purchase.  The Dickersons also generously agreed to sell the property for less than its estimated fair market value.
    “We’re grateful to the Dickersons for their decision to favor conservation over profit and to the Norcross Wildlife Foundation for making this project possible,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp.  “This property will make a wonderful addition to the state forest and acquisition of this land will help ensure water quality within one of New York’s most popular state parks.”
    This latest acquisition by the Land Trust is located just east of County Route 21 in Reading.  The property is bisected by two abandoned lanes that now serve as recreational trails and it is in close proximity to the Finger Lakes Trail which passes through adjacent state land.  In the same area several years ago, the organization secured a nearby property through the acquisition of a conservation easement that limits development while allowing the land to remain in private hands and on the tax rolls and available for traditional uses such as agriculture and forestry.  Conservation easements are permanent legal agreements that are recorded in the land records and must be honored by future owners of the land.
    The Finger Lakes Land Trust was established in 1989 to work cooperatively with landowners and local communities to protect those lands that define the character of the Finger Lakes Region.  To date, the organization has secured 14,000 acres.  Today the Land Trust owns and manages a network of 30 conservation areas and holds more than 90 conservation easements.