BIG FLATS, N.Y. (WENY) -- Recently, the Finger Lakes Land Trust purchased 218 acres of land in Big Flats from the Smith family. The land is located in the Chemung River Valley between Elmira and Corning, off of State Route 352.

The Land Trust is on a mission to conserve the lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region, ensuring scenic views, local foods, clean water, and wild places for everyone. 

"We work cooperatively with land owners and local communities, to conserve those lands that really are the natural integrity of the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier," says Andy Zepp, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

The Land Trust is partnering with the State Department of Environmental Conservation, which is where the land will be transferred in one to two years, to be regulated as a Wildlife Management Area.

"The state will develop a management plan, but typically it will be open for uses such as hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, a full range of recreational use," Zepp added.

Andy Zepp tells WENY news it truly takes a village to pull off a project like this. 

"Well in this case, we received support from the local community foundation, as well as an eternal revolving loan fund we have for projects like this. Really the way that we do our work is through members. We have more than 2,000 members across the region who contribute and support the organization, that allows us to do projects like this," Zepp says. 

The Land Trust is constantly forward thinking about ways they can maintain the beauty of wildlife here in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier.

Here in upstate, we have plenty of room to grow, but there are some special places like the Chemung River between Elmira and Corning, that are just so beautiful and rich in wildlife, that we can have both. We have room to develop, but we also can conserve areas like this so local residents, but also tourists and visitors can enjoy these areas.