The parcel consists of 492-acres situated on the east shore of the lake just north of Cayuga Power Plant. It is reportedly the largest undeveloped shoreline in private hands on any of the Finger Lakes. NYSEG acquired the land in 1968 for locating the Bell Station Nuclear Plant, but subsequent opposition resulted in the project being abandoned.
Under sunny but cold conditions, 47 participants arrived by bus, car, and paddle board. Donna Scott led six people on the bird watching hike taking advantage of the old Cayuga Lake Railroad bed for hiking close to the shore. The group saw two majestic immature Bald Eagles close up, hundreds of Redhead ducks, Canada Geese, Mallards, a Robin, Cardinals, a White Breasted Nuthatch, Crows, and several woodpeckers, including a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker quietly tapping a tree.
Three other hikes in the snow-covered scarp forest were led by Roger Hopkins, Tom Butler and Phil Snyder. Coyote tracks in the snow were seen near the largest waterfall. Following the four hikes, the various groups came together for hot drinks and snacks on the shore of Cuddeback Point. John Dennis gave a short history of the parcel and the six intrepid expert paddleboarders departed for home. Everyone agreed that the property was an exceptional place, and it was a wonderful and well-planned event. Many were enthusiastic to do it again, when it is a little warmer!
Jennifer Miller of Friends of Bell Station took the lead in organizing the event. NYSEG does not allow public access to the land without permission in advance.
Photos by Roger Hopkins