LOCKE — The last of the season’s foliage provided a colorful backdrop of orange and red leaves as the pair walked Tuesday afternoon along a path at Fillmore Glen State Park.
Andrew Van Slyke of Tully and Allyssah Brown of Cortland had just completed the Rim Trail in the park on a cool and overcast afternoon and were heading to the parking lot to leave.
They and other visitors to the park will soon have more options for hiking and otherwise enjoying nature.
The state York State Department of Environmental Conservation and The Nature Conservancy have acquired 203 acres in Locke to protect water sources and to expand Fillmore Glen State Park in Moravia.
The Hirst parcel is located along the Owasco Lake watershed and is the first of several to be acquired by The Nature Conservancy through the state Water Quality Improvement Program, according to a news release.
“TNC’s acquisition of the first of several parcels in the Owasco watershed using state water funding is helping create a healthier lake, protecting the water supply, reducing the potential for harmful algal blooms, and continuing to contribute to the local economies dependent on quality recreational opportunities,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
The conservancy was awarded $1.1 million in 2018 “to identify, protect and restore parcels of land in the Owasco Lake watershed that have the most impact on the lake’s water quality.”
The Hirst property cost $280,000 to acquire. It includes woodland, around 50 acres of freshwater and shrub wetlands with two seasonal streams, which flow into Dry Creek at Fillmore Glen State Park, which is used as a natural swimming pool, and then into Owasco Inlet, “the primary tributary to Owasco Lake,” states the release.