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For Release: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

DEC and Finger Lakes Land Trust Announce Addition of Donated Property to Robinson Hollow State Forest

Acquisition Protects Owego Creek Water Quality and Enhances Public Access and Wildlife Habitat

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced the acquisition of 26.1 acres in the town of Richford, Tioga County. The property, donated by FLLT to the State, was added to the Robinson Hollow State Forest after being gifted to the Land Trust by Michael Barnes.

"Thanks to the generosity of Michael Barnes, this property was acquired at no cost to New York taxpayers, and access to public lands is enhanced with this addition to Robinson Hollow State Forest," DEC Regional Director Matthew Marko said. "We deeply value our relationships with local partners like the Finger Lakes Land Trust, which make these opportunities possible."

"We're grateful to Michael Barnes for this wonderful gift," said Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp. "This is the third partnership project the Land Trust and DEC have undertaken to protect wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and enhance public access at Robinson Hollow."

The property is entirely forested, featuring a diverse mix of mature hemlock-hardwood cover overstory trees and understory forest flora. The property's continuous forest cover will benefit water quality in the nearby West Branch of Owego Creek, a high-quality brook trout stream.

The FLLT/Barnes donation is a key addition to Robinson Hollow State Forest that will improve land stewardship and opportunities for recreation. This property includes a section of the New York State snowmobile corridor trail system. Protection of the property also preserves views of surrounding hills from State Route 79.

The parcel is identified as a Tier 2 Forest Matrix Block. This designation, developed in partnership with the New York Natural Heritage Program and The Nature Conservancy, reflects New York State's interest in maintaining forest cover and associated wildlife habitat connectivity to surrounding forested areas across the landscape. Additionally, the sustainable management of this forested acreage will contribute to the mitigation of climate change impacts via carbon storage.

The acquisition, and all of Robinson Hollow, will be managed with the long-term goals and objectives of the Tri-County Uplands Unit Management Plan. The 3,413-acre Tri-County Uplands Unit is comprised of Andersen Hill, Potato Hill, and Robinson Hollow State Forests. These forests are located near the intersection of Cortland, Tioga, and Tompkins counties. DEC manages state lands for multiple benefits to serve the people of New York State, including sustainable forest management, ecosystem health and diversity, wildlife habitat, water quality protection, and public recreation opportunities.

Some of the popular activities on Robinson Hollow are hiking, birdwatching, camping, hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. The existing portion of the forests includes a 2.5-mile section of the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail and a three-mile section of maintained snowmobile trail.


Photo of a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) on the property


Map of Robinson Hollow State Forest and newly acquired parcel

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