OTISCO, N.Y. — Onondaga County has unveiled its newest park, Otisco Lake Park, located at the southern end of the lake on Otisco Valley Road in the town of Otisco.
Onondaga County acquired the property through a partnership with the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) of Ithaca and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The park itself has “minimal footprint to allow park visitors to appreciate a more natural setting along the waterfront of Otsico Lake,” per the county’s announcement.
The newly established Otisco Lake Park has just under 35 acres on the shoreline of Otisco Lake. The site will include a small bridge, shoreline access for anglers, and a “natural experience over mowed paths through this minimally developed site.”
FLLT purchased the Otisco Lake Park property with the support of a $407,500 Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grant that the DEC awarded in 2018.
WQIP is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that funds projects that directly improve water quality or aquatic habitat, or protect a drinking water source, Onondaga County said.
The project will protect Otisco Lake’s natural vegetation and water quality. The FLLT bought the property for $450,000 from the Henderson estate, which had owned it for more than 50 years.
Both the FLLT and the DEC identified the property but needed a partner to provide a “long-term solution” for managing the property once it was placed into a conservation easement. Onondaga County Parks was a “willing recipient,” establishing the new waterfront park.
After buying the property, FLLT and DEC then transferred it to Onondaga County at no cost, a spokesman for Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon tells CNYBJ in an email.
“We have been especially aggressive with expanding county parkland to include shoreline access because it is so limited, and it can serve as both a public asset and a protective measure for our local waters. We could not be more excited to establish this new park for our community,” McMahon said in the county’s announcement.