Nature’s Gems, Open All Year

CNY Land Trust currently protects approximately 3000 acres in 49 nature preserves within 19 towns in Onondaga County and 3 towns in Oswego County. The preserves are open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day of the year. Access is free of charge, and suitable activities include hiking, snowshoeing, photography and nature study.

Hunting, trapping, fires, camping and the use of motorized vehicles are prohibited for the safety of the visiting public and the protection of the land.

Property Classifications

In the spirit of “Protecting Nature’s Gems, One Acre at a Time,” CNY Land Trust classifies its preserves in three categories, Diamonds, Emeralds and Pearls. All preserves meet CNY Land Trust’s mission of natural area protection to provide our communities clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat and a chance to connect with the land.

Preserves most suitable for public access, nature study, and outdoor recreation, are all considered Diamonds in the CNYLT portfolio.

  • Diamonds are CNY Land Trust’s most welcoming preserves, providing trails, parking, signage for public access, a management plan, and a dedicated group of stewards.
    • We recommend you visit each of the beautiful Diamonds for great outdoor experiences.
  • Emeralds may have informal trails, and often are brushy with limited parking and access. The preserve has special features, but trails are not created or maintained.
  • Pearls have the fewest opportunities for access, for example, some are wetlands that are not accessible. These properties are difficult to navigate, and while important for conservation values, are not suited for general recreation. They will be left wild, with no plans for access or trails. Pearls will not be listed here for general use due to the unsuitability for public recreational use.

Baltimore Woods

Our brightest Diamond was purchased with the help of The Nature Conservancy, Baltimore Woods was CNYLT's first nature preserve. This area includes fields, successional and mature forest, and many brooks and springs. Baltimore Woods Nature Center manages an extensive trail system, and leads programs here on a regular basis.

Beacon Pond

This preserve was donated to CNYLT in 2003 by the O'Brien & Gere Companies. Located between Beacon North Business Park, East Taft Road to the south, Great Northern Boulevard, and Totman Road in the west, the property contains a pond, two islands and surrounding wetlands. Access is from the business park.

Bigsby Drumlin

This preserve was donated to CNYLT in 1982 by Mary Ormsby Bigsby in memory of her son, Gerald William Bigsby. The preserve's main feature is the drumlin that dominates the property and provides a panoramic view of Syracuse. The property hosts a variety of animals and plants including hundreds of conifers planted by the Bigsby family. Trails are well maintained. Access is via the parking lot of the Taunton Memorial United Presbyterian Church at 4326 Fay Road.

Heron Marsh

This preserve was acquired through a number of purchases and donations from 1975 through 1987. This preserve contains one of the main drainage channels that flows into New York State's Stanley J. Hamlin Marsh Wildlife Management Area and hosts a wide variety of waterfowl during the fall migration.

Indian Hill

This preserve contains a small stream, an overgrown Hawthorn orchard, almost impenetrable shrub areas and woodlands. A former Native American settlement was located in the area. It provides nesting habitat for many birds, including Wild Turkeys and Red-tailed Hawks and winter habitat for a flock of hardy American Robins.

Winona Woods

Our northern most property was donated by Willson Cummer in 2011. This beautiful wooded preserve, boarders the northern edge of Winona State forest and contains, a ravine with nearly 2,000 feet of Little Sandy Creek, a mature mixed forest and a small meadow.