(WBNG Binghamton)The Finger Lakes Land Trust on Wednesday announced that it has accepted the donation of a perpetual conservation easement from landowner Dan McIntosh to ensure the future of his iconic Great Gully Farm – a scenic landmark that is known by many for its expansive views of Cayuga Lake and scenic farmland adjoining State Route 90 just north of the Village of Aurora.
According to a news release:
The conservation easement limits future development while providing for continued agricultural use and the creation of two additional home sites. It covers the entire farm which spans 650 acres, including more than a half mile of Great Gully – a rugged ravine that features rare flora, towering hardwood forests, and several waterfalls. The easement agreement includes a special protection zone that encompasses the environmentally sensitive Gully. The land will remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls.
Great Gully is also historically significant in that it was the site of a Native American settlement known as Goi–O–Gouen or Cayuga Castle. Members of the Cayuga Tribe resided at the site until they were driven out by the U.S. military shortly after the American Revolution.
Great Gully Farm is a diversified cash crop operation with a mix of feed corn, sweet corn, soybeans, and hay grown at the site. The Farm has been in the McIntosh family since 1929 and Dan says that he donated the conservation easement in honor of his parents and that he “didn’t want to see the farm developed.”
The McIntosh family has long had an interest in conserving the area and in the past they provided financial support to The Nature Conservancy to establish a nature preserve on a portion of Great Gully adjacent to their farm.
“This is a tremendous gift to the community,” says Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp. “The property features prime agricultural land, extensive frontage on the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, a significant historical site, and a unique natural area that hosts rare plants. We’re grateful to Dan for his wonderful commitment to the land and we’re honored to have the opportunity to help continue his family’s tradition of stewardship.”
“The acquisition of a conservation easement on the Great Gully Farm is a real asset to keeping the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway in its most pristine condition,” adds Cathy Millspaugh, chair of the Byway’s Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. “This beautiful parcel of land coincides with our mission of preserving the natural habitat on the Byway. The Finger Lakes Land Trust throughout the years has made great strides in preserving such like areas surrounding Cayuga Lake. The Byway, known for our breathtaking scenic views, makes this new accession another reason to visit the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway.”