New Cayuga County Nature Preserve Opens on Lake Owasco | Local News | Auburn, NY | Auburnpub.com

The citizen staff

A nature preserve with a hiking trail leading to a lookout over Lake Owasco is now open to visitors in the town of Niles.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust said Wednesday it had officially opened the Owasco Bluffs Nature Preserve. The 74-acre property, which protects 1,100 feet of undeveloped shoreline, features forested bluffs overlooking Lake Owasco as well as wetlands, grasslands and a rugged gorge.

According to a press release, a one-mile trail begins off Sam Adams Lane and “guides visitors through fields and forest, ending at a lookout point with spectacular lake views.”

The Land Trust said this is only the third publicly accessible park or conservation area on the lake itself and is the sixth conservation project carried out by the Finger Lakes Land Trust in the Lake Owasco watershed.

The land was originally purchased in 2018 from Dr. Joseph Karpinski, a well-known Auburn oral surgeon who died earlier this year.

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“In partnership with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has created two seasonal wetlands on the preserve,” the Land Trust said in a statement. “The construction of the wetlands improves wildlife habitat and also improves the water quality protection of Lake Owasco by filtering runoff into the lake. Efforts have also been made to further improve wildlife habitat by removing invasive plant species such as buckthorn and black locust, and planting native trees and shrubs.

The reserve is open during the day for quiet nature viewing and low-impact recreation such as walking, hiking, and snowshoeing. Hikers should stay on marked trails to minimize disturbance to native plants and wildlife and to avoid hazards.

The Land Trust said that from October 1 to December 22, bow hunters will be on the reserve in locations at least 150 feet from the marked hiking trail. The trail will remain open to the public. A map, directions and additional information about the new reserve are available at fllt.org/owascobluffs.

The Land Trust owns and manages a network of over 35 nature reserves open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 150 properties which remain in private ownership.

Information on other destinations for outdoor recreation can be found at gofingerlakes.orga resource created by the Finger Lakes Land Trust to encourage people to get outside.

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