Skaneateles The Finger Lakes Land Trust on Sept. 7 announced that it has formally opened its Cora Kampfe Dickinson Conservation Area for public visitation. Located on the east side of Skaneateles Lake in the Town of Spafford, the 20-acre nature preserve features 1,300 feet of shoreline and a significant portion of the Staghorn Cliffs — a prominent lakeside landmark that is well known for its fossilized coral reef.
The property was donated to the Land Trust earlier this year by David Dickinson and his family. The preserve is named for David Dickinson’s mother, who held a deep appreciation for the area’s open space and lake views. She and her husband William Gilford Dickinson purchased land at the Staghorn Cliffs during the 1940’s.
The Staghorn Cliffs rise as much as 100 feet from the shore of Skaneateles Lake. The site is prized by geologists and paleontologists for the fossil layers found within the Cliffs. The fossilized remains of 300 to 400 million year-old sea creatures may be found here — evidence of when the region was covered by a shallow sea.
The public is welcome to observe this unique fossil formation and also utilize the shoreline for fishing and wildlife watching. Swimming is prohibited as is the removal of fossils from the site.
Late summer is the best time to visit the preserve as shoreline is limited and there is no usable shoreline when the lake level is high. Access to interior portions of the preserve requires prior written permission from the Land Trust due to the steep and hazardous terrain and sensitive wildlife habitats.
The preserve is located approximately two miles north of Glen Haven on the eastern shore of the lake. The preserve’s boundaries are marked on the waterfront by boundary signs that are mounted on posts located just above the waterline.