About

Photo: Matt Champlin

Go Finger Lakes is a project of the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

We are a nonprofit in Upstate New York, and we bring you this free web site for two purposes: conservation and recreation.

You can use Gofingerlakes.org as your guide to the best spots for hiking, biking, paddling, and outdoor recreation across our 6,000-square-mile area.  Please go exploring!  You can also help us permanently protect more land and water by becoming a Finger Lakes Land Trust member:

Become a Member >

CONTACT US  |  VOLUNTEER!

Since 1989, together with our members and partners, the Land Trust has permanently protected over 19,000 acres of forests, gorges, wetlands, lakeshores, and farmlands.  You can visit our 30+ nature preserves that are free and open to everyone.  Please come to our events and help us build trails.  Our mission:

To conserve forever the lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region, ensuring scenic vistas, local foods, clean waters, and wild places for everyone.

Gofingerlakes.org is an expression of that mission.  We hope the site will inspire you to explore the natural wonders of our region and help us save more land and water.  Our priceless natural areas are vulnerable.  The threats are real and intensifying.  Read more below about why we created the site and how you can get involved.

05-2 runners in FLNF
Finger Lakes National Forest. Photo: Joel Cisne

Conservation and recreation…

These two great ideas come together in the Finger Lakes region.  They are written into the mission of the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  And they are built into this web site.

Gofingerlakes.org is a simple concept – an interactive map of the best outdoor recreation spots.  But it is also an experiment.  Every day we ask ourselves:

Can we build a bigger crowd of conservationists?  Can we rally hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, and others to help us save more land and water in the Finger Lakes?  Can we attract young people and families?  Can we accelerate the pace of conservation?

We believe the answer is YES!

This site was created to serve outdoor enthusiasts in Rochester, Syracuse, Canandaigua, Skaneateles, Geneva, Ithaca, Binghamton, Cortland, Corning, Elmira, and everywhere in between.  We encourage you to “go over the ridge” and explore fantastic trails that await you in the next lake valley to your east or west.

We also invite you to view the region holistically – as a connected ecosystem of priceless lands and waters worthy of celebration and permanent protection.  With so many beautiful places to save, and so many lost every year, we ask you to explore these great trail sites and help us save more places forever.

Black Diamond Trail. Photo: Chris Ray
Black Diamond Trail. Photo: Chris Ray

What can you do?

Recreation

First things first!  Get outside and enjoy the beautiful Finger Lakes region!  Find places on the interactive map and try the trail guide at the top of the home page.  You can also browse the list of locations.  Before you hit the trails, please read safety information and disclaimers.  Share this web site with friends and plan your outings!

Conservation

We invite you to join the Finger Lakes Land Trust and volunteer with us.  You can come to our public events.  You can also protect your private land forever with the Land Trust.  Keep up with regional conservation through these free publications:  our monthly email newsletter (The Living Land), the quarterly print newsletter (The Land Steward), and our regional conservation report (Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever).  You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and InstagramContact us with any questions.

Robert Treman State Park. Photo: Nigel Kent
Robert Treman State Park. Photo: Nigel Kent

Creating the site

To produce Gofingerlakes.org, we drafted a list of the best publically accessible recreation areas by consulting staff and board members of the Finger Lakes Land Trust along with trail book author Tim Starmer.  We engaged project partners including public agencies and nature centers for photos, maps, and GIS data.  Please read disclaimers and safety information regarding the maps.

Communications consultant Jeff Katris (contact) of Ithaca led the effort as Project Manager, providing direction on strategy, content, design, and production.  The site was produced in collaboration with AWP, a web communications company based in Ithaca, New York.

Outdoorsman Tim Starmer

Finger Lakes native and veteran hiker Tim Starmer, author of Five Star Trails: Finger Lakes and Central New York (Menasha Ridge Press), wrote the experiential blurbs for about 50 of the locations.  He contributed photos from his hikes and a 3-part natural history of the region.  You can purchase Tim’s book, which covers in more detail many of the locations featured on Gofingerlakes.org, from Menasha Ridge Press and online venues.

Volunteers

The web site comes alive thanks to our volunteer photographers.  Just about every photo on the site is from the Finger Lakes region – mostly from volunteers!  Among the volunteers who supplied substantial photographic content are (in alphabetical order) Matt Champlin, Lang Elliott, Chuck Feil, Melissa Groo, Bill Hecht, Rob Howard, Steve Knapp, Brian Maley, Nigel Kent, Chris Ray, Marie Read, Tom Reimers, and Tim Starmer.  Land Trust volunteer Robin Hinchcliff collected and organized data about each location to prepare for writing and production.  The great effort of these volunteers is advancing conservation in the Finger Lakes by helping us communicate with a wide audience.  Sign up to volunteer.

Sponsors

Gofingerlakes.org was created with generous support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation, Tompkins County Tourism Program, the John Ben Snow Foundation, and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund and the NYS Conservation Partnership Program, administered by the Land Trust Alliance.  We are actively seeking sponsors who can help us keep the site free for everyone – offering a valuable public resource that acts in support of tourism, recreation, conservation, and quality of life.  Learn more about how your company can help.

Paddling to the Staghorn Cliffs. Photo: John Sutton
Paddling to the Staghorn Cliffs. Photo: John Sutton

About the Finger Lakes Land Trust

The Finger Lakes Land Trust was founded in 1989 to protect forests, farmlands, gorges, and shorelines in a 12-county region of New York.  We have saved over 19,000 acres by creating public nature preserves and helping landowners to conserve their beloved properties.  We are a small nonprofit organization supported by members.  You can become a member and volunteer.

Recognizing the increasing threats to our priceless lands and waters, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has published a bold new conservation agenda that calls for collaboration among many organizations and a $100 million investment over 10 years.  Inside the report, Lakes, Farms, and Forests Forever, you can read about our top 10 conservation strategies:  fllt.org/top10.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is accredited by an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.  The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.  It is awarded to land trusts meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence.

ac

Let’s save more land and open new nature preserves across the region!

Join the Land Trust Sign Up