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For Release: Friday, October 1, 2021

DEC and Finger Lakes Land Trust Announce 65-Acre Addition to Bare HIll Unique Area

Acquisition Protects Wooded Hillsides above Canandaigua Lake and Enhances Public Access and Wildlife Habitat

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) today announced the State's acquisition of 65.7 acres of land in the town of Middlesex, Yates County. The parcel will be added to the Bare Hill Unique Area.

"This newly acquired acreage at Bare Hill will improve access to public lands and protect this treasured natural area from future development, safeguarding wildlife habitat and the natural landscape," DEC Regional Director Tim Walsh said. "We are grateful for local partners like the Finger Lakes Land Trust, working with DEC to protect these lands for future generations."

Purchased by the FLLT in 2013, the property includes significant frontage on East Lake Road and more than 2,000 feet of common boundary with Bare Hill. Acquisition of the land will ensure the integrity of steep, wooded hillsides above Canandaigua Lake that would be susceptible to erosion if cleared for development, while also expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation and education.

"Bare Hill is an iconic landmark," said FLLT Executive Director Andrew Zepp. "We are delighted to be working in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to ensure its future while helping to maintain water quality and increasing opportunities for outdoor recreation."

DEC purchased the 65.7-acre Reed parcel from the FLLT for $178,000 with resources from the State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The Reed parcel, and all Bare Hill Unique Area, will be managed with the long-term goals and objectives of the Draft Northern Finger Lakes Unit Management Plan, which describes the proposed management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

Popular activities on Bare Hill include hiking, birdwatching, camping, hunting, trapping, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Bare Hill Unique Area currently includes two separate parcels. The southern parcel covers approximately 298 acres in the town of Middlesex in Yates County, and the northern parcel covers approximately 95 acres in the town of Gorham in Ontario County.

In addition to the 65.7-acquisition announced today, the FLLT recently acquired 27.7 forested acres in Middlesex. This property, which represents the organization's ninth project in the area, provides an important buffer to State lands on Bare Hill and another parcel previously acquired by the Trust. The organization intends to transfer the property to the State DEC as an addition to Bare Hill Unique Area. The addition of this property to Bare Hill will enhance wildlife habitat protection, help safeguard water quality in Canandaigua Lake, and increase public access to recreational opportunities.

The State's EPF has grown from its original appropriation of $31 million in fiscal year 1994-1995 to $300 million. The Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted Budget sustains the EPF at $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history. Appropriations include $40 million for solid waste programs, $90 million for parks and recreation, $151 million for open space programs and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. This investment will provide funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.

Photos of Bare Hill Courtesy of Nigel Kent

Photo of Canandaigua Lake Courtesy of Julie Bertram

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