The view south from High Tor. (Wikimedia Photo)

The view south from High Tor. (Wikimedia Photo)

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completed the purchase of land contiguous to the state’s High Tor Wildlife Management Area in the Town of Italy, Yates County, DEC Regional Director Paul D’Amato announced.

This acquisition is in addition to the 70-acre Conklin Gully parcel purchased in March of this year. Both parcels were purchased from the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

The Bristol Hills are marked by extensive, and largely unfragmented forests that blanket the steep hills, gullies and eroded cliffs carved by the glaciers. They offer exceptional scenic vistas of the Naples Valley, Canandaigua Lake and Honeoye Lake, and provide opportunities to preserve working forest lands. The area also has high ecological values; the NYS Natural Heritage Program, working under contract to The Nature Conservancy, identified the Bristol Hills as the largest occurrence of an Appalachian oak-hickory forest in all of New York State. More than 13,000 acres of this forest type have been identified in the Bristol Hills. The High Tor Wildlife Management Area is a popular recreational area attracting visitors from a wide area.

“This land adjacent to the High Tor Wildlife Management Area was identified in the State’s Open Space Plan. I truly appreciate the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s willingness to partner with DEC by buying this parcel. This ensures that these lands remain as open space in this area of increasing development pressures,” said Regional Director D’Amato.

Andy Zepp Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director said, “this acquisition creates a link between thousands of acres of existing public conservation land – enhancing public access and creating a corridor for wildlife. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to partner with New York State to ensure the future of this key parcel within the Canandaigua Lake Watershed.”

The land transfer paid for by the state using federal Wildlife Restoration Funds, also known as Pittman Robertson Funds. The transaction was completed on June 7, 2016. DEC paid $105,000 to the Finger Lakes Land Trust that negotiated and acquired the property on behalf of the state. Finger Lakes Land Trust will roll over the funds obtained from this sale into the Land Trust’s Forever Fund, a special land protection account that allows the organization to move quickly to acquire at-risk properties when they appear on the market.