Commuters who travel along Route 332 from Canandaigua to Rochester every day may take for granted the view as they gaze out over the rolling crop fields on the east side of the highway just north of the city of Canandaigua.
Those scenic vistas associated with the Finger Lakes are just part of what conservationists are trying to protect from encroaching development in northern Ontario County.
Nearly 600 acres of prime farm land in the area have been preserved under a new conservation agreement announced by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.
Executive director Andy Zepp said it was the right time and the right place for the easement which permanently preserves the land.
"The area north of Canandaigua running in a belt across the top of the Finger Lakes is actually some of the best farm land in the eastern United States. It's also facing a lot of development pressure, so these easements are a tool that can conserve the land while keeping it in private ownership and farming."
Zepp said future generations of the Pritchard family will be able to continue to farm the 596 acres of land the family has owned since the late 19th century. It is known as Catalpa Farm and it sits within one mile of Brock Acres, a commodity crop farm, where 726 acres will also be protected by the Land Trust.
The conservation easement was funded by a New York state protection program and administered by the state Department of Agriculture and the Town of Canandaigua. Zepp noted that the town has been dedicated to the continuing preservation of its agricultural lands.