Federal Farm clippings

According to the documents and press clippings shown on this page, the area that is now  the Town of  Skaneateles Transfer Station and the “Federal Farm” part of the  Skaneateles Conservation Area on Old Seneca Turnpike has gone by a number of names:

  • In 1937, the area was set up as a Conservation Experiment Station, operated by the Conservation Experiment Stations Division of the USDA’s Soil Conservation Service (SCS) – formerly the Soil Erosion Service (SES), Department of the Interior, and now the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
  • In the 1940s, it was run by the Erosion Control Practices Division of  the SCS, and documents referred to the area as the Marcellus Experiment Station Farm, or the Soil Conservation Experiment Station.
  • By the 1950s, it was run by the USDA Soil Research Bureau of Plant Industry and called the Soil Research Experiment Station.
  • In the 1960s it was known as the Marcellus Soil and Water Conservation Research Station or the Soil Management Research Farm.
  • By 1999, when the U.S. Congress conveyed the remainder of the area to the Town of Skaneateles, it was referred to simply as the Federal Farm.

Erosion Lowers Wartime Production on Northeastern Farms, USDA Soil Conservation Service, 1943

USDA - Erosion Lowers Wartime Production 1943

An Abundance of Stones and Gravel on the Surface of the Soil

Farmers often pick up the stones an cart them away, and in a few years they are as plentiful as ever.

This led to the old belief that stones grow.

Stones are sometimes brought to the surface trough “heaving” (freezing and thawing). This happens most often on poorly drained soils. Heaving does not occur on well-drained soils except when they are saturated with water.

The most common cause of a stony field is the fact that the fine soil has been washed away, leaving the stones and gravel on the surface.

Marcellus Soil Conservation Experiment Station Farm 1943-1
Fallow plot on the Marcellus Soil Conservation Experiment Station, Marcellus, N. Y., showing stones and gravel left on the land through soil washing.

Marcellus Soil Conservation Experiment Station Farm 1943-2
Erosion has reduced the surface soil over this stone ditch, on the Marcellus Experiment Station Farm, Marcellus, N. Y.

The Plow May Strike Tile or Stone Ditches

The tractor or othe heavy farm machinery may also break through them.

The tile and stone ditches were placed deep enough to be out of danger when they were first laid.

Each successive heavy rain washed a layer of soil off the surface of the land. In this way, soil erosion has lowered the soil level until these drainage systems are being damaged by farm and tillage machinery.

A Terrace Formed by Trees, Stumps, and Stone Piles, on Sloping Land

Washed soil will accumulate above a tree, stump, boulder, or stone pile, while it will move away on the lower side, forming an abrupt terrace.

The topsoil may be quite deep above, while very much reduced in depth or even completely gone below the obstacle.

Proper allowance must be made for the effects of tillage implements.

Marcellus Soil Conservation Experiment Station Farm 1943-3
An accumulation of soil above a stone pile on the experiment station farm, Marcellus, N. Y.

Accumulation of Soil Above Fences and Hedges

Some fences and stone walls catch the most soil, and are sometimes banked to the top with soil washed from land above.

Rail fences, board fences, and wire fences stop washed soil, the lower rails, boards, or wires are often buried in the soil. Hedges also cause the water to drop much of the soil.

When fences and hedges running across the slope are removed, an abrupt terrace or bench several feet high is often revealed.

Marcellus Soil Conservation Experiment Station Farm 1943-4
Washed soil banked to the top of a stone fence, on the Marcellus Experiment Station Farm, Marcellus, N. Y.

Unequal Depth of Topsoil on a Sloping Field, and on a Field that has a Rolling Topography

On upper slopes, ridges, and knobs, the topsoil may be largely washed or blown away, so that the color and quality of the surface soil is the same as that of the underlying subsoil.

On lower slopes and depressions there may be an accumulation of topsoil with corresponding darker color.

The difference in depth can be measured in inches and the variation in color is plainly visible at a distance.

Marcellus Soil Conservation Experiment Station Farm 1943-5
Topsoil washed into the lower end of a field to a depth of 3 feet. Marcellus Experiment Station farm, Marcellus, N. Y.

Marcellus Observer, November 12, 1948

Marcellus Observer 1948-11-12

Contour Plots Studied Here

Apart from saving soil and water, just how much difference does planting on the contour make compared with planting up-and-downhill?

Results obtained from the same crops planted both ways in the same years point to the value of the countour method. The tests were made by the Soil Conservation Experiment station at Marcellus, N. Y., in cooperation with Cornell’s Agricultural Experiment station.

In 1943 the water and soil saved by contouring boosted yields of mature, shelled corn from 32 bushels to more than 56 bushel an acre, an increase of 19 per cent.

Both oats and wheat were studied in 1948, with the following results: Oats planted on the contour average 49 bushels an acre, and those on the slope about 45 bushels an acre.

The study brought out another fact. On the six test plots (3 on contour and 3 up-and-down, yield studies were made at three different points on each plot – at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom. It was found that the yields at the bottom were higher than at the top or middle of each plot. As a rule, the plots up-and-down the hill also showed the greatest yield differences between top and bottom, indicating that more soil and water had come downhill.

Wheat yields followed much the same pattern. On the contour the plots averaged nearly 40 bushels an acre, while up-and-down plots returned less than 34 bushels an acre, said George Free, the conservationist in charge.

The Marcellus Observer, March 27, 1953

Marcellus Observer 1953-03-27 Help Wanted Soil Research Exp Station


Position Available (Permanent) – In the Soil Research Bureau of Plant Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture, for a reliable man under 50, of average intelligence and initiative, to begin April 1st.

Starting salary aproximateley 1.40 per hour, plus all Civil Service privileges.

Apply at the Soil Research Experiment Station 2-1/2 miles West of Marcellus, on Old Seneca Turnpike.

Phone: Marcellus 68-0648.

Webster Herald, July 21, 1960

Webster Herald 1960-07-21

Soil & Water

Ever since the Monroe County Soil Conservation District was organized, the directors have spent one meeting a year looking at soil and water conservation outside the county. This is done with the idea that the directors can do a better job of running their own district if they know about outside facets of the job. The July meeting this year was spent in that sort of endeavor.

The directors went on a guided tour of the Marcellus Soil and Water Research Station. This station is is operated by the Agricultural Research Service under the guidance of Dr. George Free. Our local directors thought that the other district directors might be interested in Marcellus too. They invited all the neighboring districts to join them. They must have been right. Directors from Wayne, Ontario, Steuben, and Genesee Districts met at Marcellus to join the tour.

The station at Marcellus was set up in 1937. Since then a great deal of basic research in soil and water conservation has been conducted there. A few of the many research trials we saw are detailed here.

For the last eight years, work on soil compaction has been carried out. A corn field has been worked on the contour in corn and cover crops every year. Everything has been the same except that one part has had minimum tillage (once over with a disc), one part has had normal tillage (dragged 3 times), and the rest has been worked over 9 times before planting. For seven years yields were comparable. Last year the overworked, compacted soil was down in yield. This year, after a month without rain, the corn looks very sick in the compact section.

Another trial has to do with up and down hill vs. contour planting. Side by side plots are planted and worked on the contour and down the hill. The rotation is corn with cover crop, beans and wheat with alfalfa. The contour sections have consistently out-yielded the down hill plots. The spread gets wider as the years go on. The slope in a gentle one: only five percent.

These are only two of the many experiments we saw. We all left Marcellus with the thought that it is a fabulous place. It proves something that we have known all along. Conservation farming doesn’t cost, it pays.

Conservation Methods for Soils of the Ontario-Mohawk Plain and Glaciated Allegheny Plateau
By G. R. Free, soil scientist, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, March 1965

George R Free - Conservation Methods 1965 fig 2
Figure 2. – A typical installation to measure runoff from plots at Marcellus, N. Y.

George R Free - Conservation Methods 1965 fig 4
Figure 4. – Experimental plots at Marcellus, N. Y., field station furnish data on effect of length of slope on runoff and erosion.

Wood Chips in Vegetable Production by Brian Caldwell

1951 1966
Soil Conservation Research Station 1951 & 1966
Soil Conservation Service research farm in Marcellus, NY

From 1951-1965, a remarkable experiment was carried out on a Soil Conservation Service research farm in Marcellus, NY. The project is written up in a 1971 Cornell bulletin called, “Soil Management for Vegetable Production on Honeoye Soil with Special Reference to the Use of Hardwood Chips” by G. R. Free. This 15-year study used a 5-year vegetable rotation of sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, cabbage, and peas. It compared 14 different treatments, including several in which 10 tons per acre moist weight (7 tons dry weight) of wood chips were added each year. Other treatments looked at using overwintered ryegrass or bromegrass cover crops, and more extensive rotations in which legume sod hay crops were substituted for the beans and tomatoes. The hay crops were harvested and removed, not simply plowed under. Crops were fertilized with chemical fertilizers and (as seems likely) probably sprayed for pests and weeds. Crops were also cultivated for weed control.

Some results were apparent within a few years and continued for the duration of the project. Yields of most crops were improved with the addition of wood chips and best when the chips were topdressed on the soil surface after the crops were planted instead of being plowed under. Over the years, soil organic matter (SOM) and nitrogen increased in the chip-amended plots, while they dropped in the chipless plots without cover crops. Including yearly grass cover crops allowed SOM and soil nitrogen to stay at about an even level over the 15 years.

This is an important finding. In other words, adding 10 tons/acre of wood chips each year did more to maintain soil quality than adding grass cover crops or resting the soil with harvested alfalfa sod hay crops.

Auburn Citizen-Advertiser, Mar. 4, 1969

Auburn Citizen 1969

Auburn school board files for 223 acres

The Auburn Board of Education today filed an application to acquire 223 acres of federal surplus farmland in Onondaga County for educational use.

The school board authorized the administration to apply for the former soil research farm on Old Seneca Turnpike, Marcellus, at its Feb. 24 meeting. The property, if acquired, will be used to house the vocational agriculture and other occupational education programs operated by the Cayuga County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), as well as conservation and other outdoor educational programs.

In the past, school districts have been able to acquire federal surplus land at no cost, because credits are given for the operation of various educational programs.

The Auburn school district’s application has received the support of Dr. Robert Seckendorf, assistant state education commissioner for occupational education; Dr. Leo A. Soucy, Cayuga County BOCES district superintendent; and Henry Crumb, superintendent of the Western Onondaga County BOCES.

Arrangements will be made for the enrollment of youngsters from the Western Onondaga County area in the programs conducted on the property by BOCES and Auburn School District on a contract basis.

The Auburn district’s major competitor for acquisition of the land is the Town of Skaneateles, which plans to use the property for a landfill operation.

Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 19, 1970

1970-Feb-19 BOCES_to_seek_farm_land

BOCES To Seek Farm Land

MARCELLUS – The Auburn Board of Education has withdrawn its application for acquisition of 223 acres of land near here in favor of the Cayuga County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).

The Auburn board applied last February to acquire the former Soil Management Research Farm on Old Seneca turnpike for use in outdoor eduction, conservation and agricultural programs.

The land would be used for the eduction of pupils from Cayuga County schools and schools in western Onondaga County, according to the application.

The Auburn district applied because state education law provides that a BOCES cannot purchase property without first conducting a county referendum.
Plans called for leasing the land to BOCES for the program.

The Auburn district has stepped aside because officials believe BOCES is in a better position to acquire the properly, at no cost.

An agreement reportedly has been worked out with the Town of Skaneateles, which applied for the land to use as a landfill operation.

U.S. Health, Education and Welfare department officials have been notified of the agreement that will give Skaneateles about 70 acres of the land for its dump, officials said.

Under the agreement, the town would receive a farmhouse near the highway
which would give it control of traffic in the area.

A barn and several farm buildings would go to BOCES, according to officials.

The transfer of sponsorship of thc application to BOCES reportedly was due to concern expressed by HEW officials over one school district applying for land to be used by all county schools.

Marcellus Observer, March 26, 1970

1970-Mar-26 Marcellus Observer - School Board Pushes for Research Farm

School Board Pushes for Research Farm

After reviewing the future educational needs of its school district, the Marcellus Central School Board of Education recommended in Feb. 1969 that the school make application for a Soil Management Research Farm on the disputed land which is located in the Town of Skaneateles and the School District of Marcellus.

The District Principal, Lincoln C. White and Curriculum Director, Alvin Gehrke, determined that the property could provide facilities that would enhance the educational opportunities of our students. Mr. Gehrke then prepared a concise application for the land. This application was taken to the Regional Office of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare on March 17, 1969. On April 14, a more detailed report containing course outlines was forwarded to the HEW Regional Office.

April 16, a meeting attended by District Principal Lincoln C. White, Director of Curriculum Alvin Gehrke, Business Manager Edward J. Heinrich and Science Teacher William Moran from Marcellus Central School as well as representatives from Auburn, O.C.C. and Skaneateles was held in Skaneateles. After the meeting, representatives from Marcellus Central School, Auburn and Skaneateles drove to the farm site for an inspection.

May 28, 1969, another meeting was held. and in attendance from Marcellus Central School were Michael Callahan, School Board President, Lincoln C, White and the attorney for the school, Mr. Arthur Wilson, Sr. It was indicated at that meeting that a decision would be made after all the facts were considered.

On March 3, 1970, William S. Moran and James Kundell, two science teachers with a strong interest in environmental studies forwarded letters seeking support of our original application to interested parties.

Press-Observer, March 26, 1970

Newspapers Skaneateles NY Free Press 1970 - March 26 - Marcellus school district

Dear Editors,

The rich educational value of the land from the former Soil Management Research Farm, within the Marcellus Central School District, cannot be overstressed.

Left in its natural state this land can be a laboratory for the children in the Marcellus School district and for those in neighboring schools. Limitless educational possibilities exist for this site because of the varied land form, including some cultivated lands, uncultivated grassland sections, wooded areas, which extend from flat lands into a ravine and into what has become a wetland section, and the many habitats it provides.

Through wise use of this land, the principles of conservation, wildlife management, ecology, taxonomy, and water relations can be learned. Students would make a valuable contribution to the curricula offerings of our school district. Demonstration plots would assist in the education of youngsters interested in horticulture or floriculture. Opportunities could be provided for them to design and recommend planting for specific land plots, with the opportunity to carry out their plans.

In environmental studies a demonstration course pooling the talents and efforts of the science and social science departments would add to the educational program. It would emphasize man’s responsibility to nature and the control he has over his natural environment.

In time, camping facilities could be developed. By introducing instruction in the area of camping a recreating sport and hobby, students would begin to understand that they do affect individually and have the advantages of experiencing scientific inquiry and conducting real field research. In this environment, discovery would not be artificial, but real. Students of all grade levels could explore, discover and inquire.

This acreage, representing most of the terrain to be found in this area, provides the opportunity to develop experimental and demonstration farm projects for those studying agriculture. The nature of this land provides an excellent training laboratory situation for conservation courses, which would collectively the natural environment. These camp areas would permit classes in any of the disciplines to spend part of a day or a full day or longer on this acreage when pertinent to their studies.

In summation, it is quite apparent that we support the idea of using this land a laboratory from which numerous educational benefits could be obtained.

It is further stated that the Marcellus Central School District’s application that was submitted in March 1969 is still alive. This was determined by a communication with Mr. Simonian’s H.E.W. Office, March 23.

LINCOLN C. WHITE, District Principal
DR. DONALD BAILEY, Senior High Principal
WILLIAM GROELING, Junior High Principal
JAMES MORDAUNT, Elementary Principal
GERALD MORRISSEY, Elementary Principal
EDWARD HEINRICH, Business Manager
KATHRYN C. HEFFERNAN, Director of Elementary Education

Syracuse Post-Standard, March 26, 1970

Cayuga BOCES Unit, Skaneateles Get Land

No Charge Reported

Cayuga BOCES Unit, Skaneateles Get Land

AUBURN – A federal Health, Eduction and Welfare (HEW) Department official has revealed approval of a proposal for the Cayuga County Board of Cooperative Educational Service (BOCES) and the town of Skaneateles to share 223 acres of federal surplus farm land.

Joseph Everett, real property director for the HEW Office of Surplus Land, said approval was granted two weeks ago, but local officials have not yet received formal approval.

BOCES amd the Town of Skaneateles will share the 223-acre former soil management research farm on Old Seneca Turnpike in the Onondaga County Town of Skaneateles.

Both will receive the land free of charge, it was stated.

About 153 acres will be used by BOCES for vocational agriculture and related educational programs.

The remaining 70 acres are to be used by the town for a sanitary landfill, but that proposal is being opposed bay a newly-organized anti-pollution group in Marcellus — the Nine Mile Association (NMA),

The  association’s president Edward Pelchy has expressed concern that polluants may be washed into Nine Mile Creek, which flows through Marcellus.

The group reportedly is circulating petitions against the landfill operation, commenting the land is “too good for a landfill” and “should be used entirely for educational purposes.”

“We don’t want to give up the fight now,” Pelchy said.

A frame building  on the property will go to Skaneateles and the seven outbuildings will be used by BOCES.

Everett said the town plans to provide a caretaker at the landfill and also to control traffic in the area.

Richard Chauncey, BOCES occupational education director , said BOCES plans to begin using the land July 1.

Plans call for Skaneateles to use 5 to 10 acres at a time for the landfill, with the sections not being used to be utilized by BOCES.

John Bryant, Skaneateles town attorney, said the landfill would be the first of its type in Onondaga County, and said it would help eliminate pollution rather than contribute to it.

He said the landfill is designed to provide “total freedom from air and water pollution of any kind. There will be no burning.”

Pelchy said he “doubts very much” that the landfill operation would be pollution-free.


105th Congress (1997-1998), H.R. 3616

Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 –

Division A: Department of Defense Authorizations –

Title XXVIII: General Provisions –

Subtitle D: Land Conveyances – Part I: Army Conveyances –

(Sec. 2836) Authorizes the Secretary of the Army to convey to … (7) Skaneateles, New York, the Federal Farm located there;  …

Public Law 105-261, 105th Congress

Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999.

An Act
To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1999 for military activities
of the
Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense
activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnel strengths
for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.
<<NOTE: Oct. 17, 1998 –  [H.R. 3616]>>

Be it enacted by the Senate  and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,



(a) Conveyance Authorized. The Secretary of the Army may convey,  without consideration, to the Town of Skaneateles, New York (in this  section referred to as the “Town”), all right, title, and interest of  the United States in and to a parcel of real property, including  improvements thereon, consisting of approximately 147.10 acres in  Skaneateles, New York, and commonly known as the “Federal Farm”, for  the purpose of permitting the Town to develop the parcel for public  benefit, including for recreational purposes.

(b) Description of Property. The exact acreage and legal description of the real property to be conveyed under subsection (a)  shall be determined by a survey satisfactory to the Secretary. The cost  of the survey shall be borne by the Town.

(c) Reversionary Interest. During the 5-year period beginning on  the date the Secretary makes the conveyance authorized under subsection  (a), if the Secretary determines that the conveyed real property is not  being used in accordance with the purpose of the conveyance specified in  such subsection, all right, title, and interest in and to the property,  including any improvements thereon, shall revert to the United States, and the United States shall have the right of immediate entry onto the  property. Any determination of the Secretary under this subsection shall  be made on the record after an opportunity for a hearing.

(d) Additional Terms and Conditions. The Secretary may require such  additional terms and conditions in connection with the conveyance under  subsection (a) as the Secretary considers appropriate to protect the  interest of the United States.

Auburn Citizen, August 06, 2006

‘Federal Farm’ example of dedication

by Bill Pavlus

We have been very fortunate in our town and surrounding communities to have accumulated over 500 acres of natural beauty for individuals to use and enjoy. These properties are widely scattered around our town. I will begin with an area that I am most proud of.

Since the early 1900s it was known as the “Federal Farm” along Old Seneca Turnpike, next to our Transfer Station and down to Gully Road. I like to call it the last wilderness area in the Town of Skaneateles. It had become known as the “Federal Farm” because the U.S. government acquired it by filing a petition for condemnation and paying $10,000 to the Weeks family on July 9, 1936. The Department of Agriculture used it as an experimental station for several years. They studied different techniques and methods of farming in an effort to increase production.

By 1969 they were no longer using this property and declared it excess. Our attempt to secure this farm at that time was foiled by our neighbors to the east; however, we were able to purchase 70 acres for our Transfer Station for $22,000. The rest of the land lay idle for several years except that the U.S. Army used it as a helicopter landing site for a short period of time.

After my election as town supervisor in 1996, I continued to pursue acquisition of this property with the help of U.S. Congressman Jim Walsh and Senator Al D’Amato. On June 25, 2001, Walsh arranged to meet us at the farm so that he could deliver the deed in person.

During the winter of 2000-01, Seamus Haggerty cleared a huge amount of brush from around a small pond so that we could hold our first Town of Skaneateles Fishing Derby on July 21, 2001. For Seamus this was a project that would earn his Eagle Scout Award. I will be forever grateful to Seamus, and proud of him, for his work on this project because we were able to hold three fishing derbies on this pond.

Assemblyman Will Barclay assisted us with the funding necessary to join two small ponds, by widening and deepening both to give us the wonderful body of water that we now have. Barclay attended this year’s derby and walked around the pond visiting with the participants. He even stopped to help one young boy retrieve his hook from a snag and stated that he has had lots of experience. Attendance continues to show that there is a lot of interest in a free fishing derby for children ages 4 through 15. This year we held our Sixth Annual Fishing Derby on July 15. Gary Snyder was in charge again this year, and he reports that we had 71 entrants and they caught 368 fish.

Last year, our two Rotary Clubs were looking for a nice project that they could construct for their Centennial Celebration. I mentioned that we could use a pavilion overlooking our pond. We are all very pleased with their finished product, which serves a dual purpose. Last year it protected many of us from the hot sun, and this year it enabled us to get set up and ready for the fishing derby during an early morning shower which ended just prior to the 9 a.m. start. When the whistle blew at noon to bring the derby to a close, a heavy shower settled in over the area. The pavilion was large enough for everyone to get under cover and stay dry until all of the trophies and prizes were awarded.

Last June 20, 35 ladies from the Skaneateles Garden Club held their monthly meeting in the pavilion and invited me to tell them how the town acquired the Skaneateles Conservation Area. After lunch, about a dozen joined with me for about a two-hour walking tour of a small portion of the property. At the end they asked if they could schedule more guided tours, as there is a lot more to be seen.

In 2002, with a grant from the NYS Department of Parks, we were able to purchase the former William Guppy farm (1830s) along Gully Road. This property is now all reestablished forest and has a small stream and a beautiful waterfall. Tim Rudl earned his Eagle Scout award by trimming a trail to the falls and, just recently, for his Eagle Award, Josiah Witter constructed a split rail fence and bench at the waterfall to help protect visitors from falling into the ravine. Unfortunately vandals have already destroyed it and thrown it into the ravine. A detective from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s office has investigated the site with me and a report has been made. This project will be rebuilt, however.

Prior to his death, William G. Allyn arranged for funding to purchase material to reconstruct a set of steps to the top of the ravine leading to the falls. The timbers that were used came from the forest of one of our members, Bob Sykes, of Foster Road, and were cut to size on his own saw mill. Construction is being performed under the guidelines of the Youth Construction Initiative Program (YCIP). This is an on-the-job training opportunity for students from the Lafayette School System and is under the guidance of Ken Auyer, a technology instructor.

With financial assistance from Assemblyman Barclay, we were able to purchase a 6-acre parcel on the east side of Gully Road. This will allow us to open several new interesting trails and create many more Eagle Scout projects. Much of our work is performed by a small group of volunteers like, Bruce Famoly, who mows the grass around the fish pond and all of the grassy trails on his own time and often takes a vacation day to help complete a job on the property. I am sure that there are many users of the property who might be willing to volunteer a little of their time if they only knew how to offer their help. Anyone wishing to help us in any way may call me at 685-5515.

Bill Pavlus is former town supervisor for Skaneateles

Bill Pavlus

APRIL 2011

PRESENTATION AT THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Our Town Supervisor, Terri Roney will deliver the presentation of our Conservation Areas at the Historical Society monthly meeting next Tuesday evening, April 26th, at 7:30 PM at the Creamery on Hannum Street. You are welcome to come and be acknowledged for your help in getting us to where we are currently. All who attend will be given a free color coded map of the area with an explanation of when and how the individual properties were acquired. We would really like to see all Town Board members there.

FISHING DERBY: Rose Thompson has indicated that she will not be with us at our first monthly meeting on Monday, April 17th. She feels that it is a little too early to start making our requests for financial backing. In an Email from Councilor Murray, she states: “I have some good ideas to help our ‘fishing derby’ after I have Rosie’s permission.” I’m sure that there will be some further discussion.

WELCH ALLYN BEACONFEST VOLUNTEER DAY: Jim Colvin reports, “You are on the list. We’re still in the process of tallying the results from 1,100 employees on their participation. We may not know until late May-early June which location we lock in to. But yours is high on the list. I’ll be in touch.” I asked Jim, “What is the origin of the word Beaconfest?” He replied, “For over 20 years, the Beaconfest has been a Beacon of Quality day. We take a day to recognize our employees. Last year we put the spin on it to have it be a Show of Hands. We spend the morning at Welch Allyn, recognizing our employees’ efforts in terms of Quality. Then we spend the rest of the day going out to agencies throughout Cayuga and Onondaga Counties. We also have a group of employees who choose to stay at Welch Allyn. They assemble things like care packages for relief agencies. How’s that?”

NYS CONSERVATION CAMPS: Councilor Nancy Murray sent an Email to say that, “Fred and I will explain about our two young representatives for camp,” at our Monday meeting.

MABLE REYNOLDS NATURE PRESERVE: Dave Laxton asked me if I had seen or heard about the work being done on the new parking area. It was a heavy downpour when I asked my wife to go for a ride with me. She thought that I was a little loony, however she did agree, so we drove up Benson Road to the Reynolds property, and wow what a change. This is exactly what I had suggested in the beginning; however others thought that I was all wet. As Dave said, “sometimes things happen for a reason.” I’ll let David fill you in on the reasons & how this is taking place.

ON OUR VOLUNTEERS LIST: Tom Brooks – Tom has been on this list since last year when he offered to help us clean out our pond in preparation for our Fishing Derby. I called him to see if he would be able to help this year and if he had any other interests. We had a very interesting conversation and exchanged Email addresses. Tom wrote; “I’ve been over to the area mostly on weekends walking with dogs, picking up litter and basic trail maintenance. Weather permitting I was planning to try and clear a section of trail that’s been blocked by a downed tree for the last 3 weeks. Just let me know when you are looking for help.”

Randy Nonenmacher – Randy stopped in to ask Janet Aaron who he needed to contact to volunteer on our Conservation Area and she gave him my number. We had a very interesting conversation and I invited him to have coffee with Dick Marx, Bob Sykes and myself. After coffee Randy stopped at my house to get some additional information. In a few days Dick, Bob & I got this Email from Randy; “I got a hand-held GPS and plotted out the current trails, roads & SCA boundaries, overlaid on a hi-res satellite image. I put the map with some other SCA maps on a page of my blog at http://nonenmac.blogspot.com/p/sca-maps.html. Bob Sykes responded with; “Nice work on the maps. They should be quite helpful. Also an interesting blog.”


SPRING FLOWER WALK: Dessa Bergen – I called Dessa to ask if she was planning a Spring Flower Walk this year. She stated that she would call Gregg McGee and call me back. I have received no reply so I will ask if there are any other interested volunteers.

BISHOP MEMORIAL: – Do we have anyone who would like to volunteer to plant and care for a planting of flowers around this memorial?

EMAIL FROM SUPERVISOR RONEY: She reports: “I just want you to know that I had a call from a constituent who regularly bird watches on Gully Road. She found a number of spent casings in the area indicating shooting occurring (I don’t believe there is any hunting allowed this time of year) along with several cases of consumed beer. I have called the Sheriff’s Dept. and asked them to step up patrols in that area hoping to preempt any vandalism that is likely to result if left unchecked. I was told by this person that she took the left over trash out of the parking lot. It was thrown under the raised platform.” I have had another similar report and have asked Terri for the name of the person who contacted her so that I could indicate my concerns.

TURKEY SEASON: Dick Marx & I put up new signage to warn non-hunters that Turkey Season is open for the entire month of May from Sunrise to Noon. The Turkey population seems to be increasing every year. This past winter my wife has seen a group of six come to clean up under her bird feeders and we have watched them from our kitchen window while eating breakfast. Get out of bed early on a nice day and drive out to Gully Road and listen to the turkeys talking to each other along with a wide variety of other song birds during mating season.

COUNTY RIGHT OF WAY – OLD SENECA TURNPIKE: At my request the Onondaga County Highway Dept. trimmed the hedge along the road to improve the sight distance and the safety concerns as users enter onto the highway from the Federal Farm Parking Area. There are some large trees remaining standing and I would like to hear comments especially about the one huge Poplar tree that I would like to see removed.

From the Town of Skaneateles Newsletter. 16:2. September 2014:

Conservation Area

Dick Marx

For the 14th consecutive year, we had a very successful kids fishing derby with great weather, many fish caught and released, trophies awarded for largest fish caught in each of the six age groups, and lots of happy kids!

The activity at the property continues to increase and many positive comments are left in the log books at the kiosks.

Everyone needs to be aware that hunting season starts September 1, 2014 with small game and continues on through the year with the most activity during deer season the last half of November into December. The property was given to the Town with the understanding that it would be kept open for hunting per New York State DEC Rules and Regulations. We strongly suggest that if you are utilizing the property during deer season, you wear some form of orange clothing to ensure your safety.

The trails have been given their annual maintenance and we are in good shape.

Enjoy the area and help keep it clean and safe.

Other references: