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Spafford town board to hold public hearing on nature preserves

A rendering done by artist Robert McNamara of the planned trail-head for the new nature preserve in Spafford.

A rendering done by artist Robert McNamara of the planned trail-head for the new nature preserve in Spafford.

The dead-end road has not had a house on it in years and has only recently been used by the Burns brothers for farmland access. However, the town did some work on the road last year and state law says that a road can only abandoned if it has gone six years without any maintenance work being done, Stevens said.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is also seeking a PDD approval for a small corridor starting off of the east side of Route 41 and extending to Ripley Hill nature preserve, a 118-acre preserve owned by the Central New York Land Trust. The corridor is intended to be used for a hiking trail to connect Route 41 to the preserve, which is undeveloped aside from a season dirt road that runs through the property.

The corridor was also purchased from the Burns brothers, but must be its own PDD because it is not connected to the other lands, Stevens said.

These purchases and easement are the beginning of an ongoing land trust initiative it first announced in May to conserve land around Skaneateles Lake.

“This will be the single largest link in a greenbelt that would extend around the southern half of Skaneateles Lake,” Zepp said.

The greenbelt would potentially include a hiking trail that would connect the new land in Spafford to Bear Swamp State Forrest a recreational area in Cayuga County to the west of Skaneateles Lake.

The idea for the trail originated in 2009, and though much work remains to be done to make it a reality, the new land acquisition in Spafford is a good starting point, Zepp said.

Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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