A Family's Tale…

Cornwall Preserve- A Jewel Protected

Over 200 years with the family passing the farm down to the next generation, one family member to the next the Cornwall’s cared for their lakeside farm over five generations. All around, times were changing, but the Cornwall farm stayed the same.

And, then, it was time to sell...

"With no one living in New York, it became too hard to continue to own this beautiful piece of land, yet I knew it would break my Dad's heart if it got developed with big sprawling houses," reflected Mark Cornwall.

In February 2016, Genesee Land Trust purchased the 74 acres of Cornwall land that is framed by the Lake on one side, and the scenic and historic Lake View Cemetery on the other, conserving the essence of what this region has been for hundreds of years.

"Keeping the Cornwall farm as it has been, without the threat of ever being developed, and with the bonus of it being open to the public was for me, an ideal way to preserve the character of our hamlet." explained Walter Gilges, a long-time resident of Pultneyville.

What would Dad think?

"I wonder sometimes what my Dad would think of our actions of selling the land but I think he would have approved of selling it to the Land Trust," commented Mark.

"It was a big leap of faith for the land trust to take on a project like this," remarked Gay Mills, executive director of the land trust, "but there aren't many properties like this anymore---and there's really nothing like it when you think about the family heritage, relationship to the hamlet, and the lake views and wildlife habitat."

In a few short months, neighbors and community members responded to and met the Bullis Fund's challenge grant to Wayne County residents.  $100,000 was raised showing their support for the conservation of this unique place in their community.

"We are happy that so many have helped to make this a reality," reflected Jim May, who with his wife Carol lives in the area and is part of the Pultneyville Mariners, "It makes you realize how many people really care."

Long-time supporters of Genesee Land Trust from across the region recognized the importance of saving a remnant of vanishing habitat of the North Coast and sweeping views of Lake Ontario. Organizations from the Wayne County Sportsman Federation to Rochester Birding Association joined in the effort.  New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation awarded the project's final $300,000 allowing the land trust to complete the purchase.

"It's a place that has always been special and now, it will be conserved for generations to come, much the way our family has treasured it— a place that respects the open rural character of the past, the cemetery, hamlet and opens it up to the community for the future," commented Mark. "You can't always come back home, but it's really special to know that 'home' is where the heart is, and my family has loved that land for generations."