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Life on The Hill


Jacob's Woods is owned outright by the current stewards. They have worked for more than 30 years to manage the land in an environmentally positive
and sustainable way.

The original 1900 farmhouse burned down and was replaced in 1920, with additions in 1977. Former owners planted 17,000 trees and added two ponds. The current stewards have developed an extensive trail network and have made renovations and upgrades
to the house for energy efficiency.


A plan to manage the health of the forest resources to ensure their health and productivity for generationsto come was completed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 2018. Implementation of the plan is an ongoing task.


The current stewards hope
to live out their lives on
The Hill. Together they have experience at every level of government (including an Indian nation), educational institutions, nonprofits, and the private sector. Their goal is to find the ideal partner organization to which they will leave the property to manage per existing plans and a Conservation Easement that 
is under development. 


In 2020 the stewards of Jacob’s Woods were awarded a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, partof the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to develop a Pollinator Habitat Enhancement—a site-specific conservation plan that addresses the improvement, restoration, enhancement, or expansionof flower-rich habitat that supports native and managed pollinators. The plan was completed and approved by NRCS in 2021. Implementation options are being evaluated.

Jacob’s Woods is located on the traditional homelands of Onöndowa’ga:’, or Great Hill People (Seneca Nation), the largest of Six Nations in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (Hodinöhsö:ni’, or People of the Longhouse)—the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida,

Mohawk, and Tuscarora.

Trail construction


Tree Harvest. A targeted tree harvesting project, directed by the Finger Lakes Land Trust forester, was accomplished in 2014.
The focus of the work was the long-term health of the woods and creation of openings so that trees like oak, cherry, white pine, cucumber magnolia, and basswood can regenerate, resulting in a more diverse and healthy forest.

Harvesting Oak for the Kitchen. After the Chemung County Soils and Water director recommended that six red oak trees be cut down to open the forest canopy,
in 2000 the stewards hired Mennonite lumbermen to
cut down the trees and mill the wood, right on the property. The 80-year-old oak was transformed into new kitchen cabinets for the 80-year-old house.


Wander Mowing. Sections of Jacob’s Woods are excellent examples of wander mowing, an approach implemented with a grant from the USDA Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program. The process creates additional access points for nesting birds.

Native Stone. In 2015, stones that one of the stewards had gathered from the stream on Jacob’s Woods were used by a local stonemason for rebuilding the walls in front of the house.


Trail Development, with Mapping and GIS. An extensive trail system has been developed at Jacob’s Woods, along with related mapping and a geographic information system. The land map does not include some of the walking-only trails on the property.

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