Parks, Trails Recreation & Open Spaces

waterall in state park

The Town of Ithaca park, trail and preserve system consists of a wide variety of types and sizes of facilities.  These facilities include many neighborhood parks, one developed community park, five nature preserves, three multiuse trails, and numerous walkways.  The existing Town parks provide a range of recreational facilities including play structures, ballfields, playfields, sledding hills, picnic areas, nature trails, and even a community garden in one undeveloped Town park.  The multi-use trails and walkways provide off-street alternatives for joggers, bikers, and walkers, as well as commuting paths to work, school or shopping.  Dog waste facilities are available at several sites. 

The Ithaca area is also fortunate in having two large City parks, four State parks, Village parks, and the non-publicly owned open areas of Cornell University, Ithaca College, The Nature Conservancy, and the Finger Lakes Land Trust, as well as numerous other public and private recreational facilities within or near the Town of Ithaca.  Both Buttermilk Falls State Park and Robert H. Treman State Park are located within the Town of Ithaca.

Parks

Town Parks

The Town of Ithaca Public Works Department maintains a system of twelve neighborhood parks, one community park, and several yet to be developed park sites.  These parks provide a range of recreational facilities including play structures, ballfields, playfields, grills, picnic tables, park benches, and walking trails.  The Town also maintains the playfield at the private Coddington Road Community Center, which is open to the public.  At Tutelo Park, Valentino Field is a regulation sized Little League field that is available for rent.  The Tutelo Park pavilion is also available for rent.  The Town also owns approximately 38 acres of parkland that is not currently developed for any active uses.

  • Coddington Road Community Center Playfield
  • Eastern Heights Park
  • East Shore Park
  • Forest Home Park
  • Grandview Park
  • Hungerford Heights Park
  • Northview Park
  • Salem Park
  • Tareyton Park
  • Troy Park
  • Tudor Park
  • Tutelo Park
  • Vincenzo Iacovelli Park
  • West Hill Community Garden

Park / Trail Permit Application

A Park/Trail Permit is required in the Town of Ithaca for a picnic or other event by a group or organization of more than five people.  A permit application should be provided to the Town of Ithaca Public Works Department at least 48 hours in advance of the event. Permits are issued on a first come – first served basis.  Please see the application form or Chapter 200: Parks and Recreation Areas (https://ecode360.com/8659366) of the Town Code for additional information regarding fees, security deposits, insurance requirements, and other requirements.  

Adopt-A-Park / Trail / Preserve Agreement

The Adopt-a-Park / Trail / Preserve program provides a fun opportunity for individuals, volunteer groups, neighborhood associations, and businesses to take an active role in the maintenance and improvement of the Town of Ithaca’s parks, trails, and preserves.  Your efforts help to keep these places clean for all to enjoy.  All we ask for is a two-year commitment and to have a clean-up a minimum of 2 times a year.  The Town provides safety vests, gloves, and garbage bags and will pick-up and dispose of the trash bags. 

To learn more about adopting your favorite park, trail or preserve, please contact the Town’s Parks Maintenance Manager at 607-273-1656 or fill out the application form above and return it to the Town of Ithaca Public Works Facility. 

Town Park and Trail Documents

Town of Ithaca Park and Trail Rules and Regulations

To enhance and promote the safety and enjoyment of everyone using the Town of Ithaca parks, trails, and facilities, and to assure that everyone has an equal opportunity in the use and enjoyment of such facilities, the Town has established various rules and regulations. 

For emergencies and for reports of suspicious activity, call 911.

  • Parks and Trails are closed ½ hour after sunset and reopen at dawn.
  • Young children should be appropriately supervised.
  • Domesticated household pets are allowed in Town Parks and Trails if in a cage or on a leash. Owners shall clean up after them.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian traffic shall keep to the right on all trails, except for passing.
  • No firearms, hunting, trapping, camping, motorized vehicles, or unreasonable noise is permitted.  Fires are not permitted except for in the charcoal picnic grills maintained by the Town.
  • Town Parks and Trails are carry-in / carry-out facilities.

For a complete list of all park and trail rules, see Chapter 200: Parks and Recreation Areas of the Town of Ithaca Code.

For emergencies and for reports of suspicious activity, call 911.

Trails

Town Multi-Use Trails

The Town owns and maintains approximately seven miles of off-road multi-use trails for jogging, walking, bicycling, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.  Portions of the South Hill Recreation Way and East Ithaca Recreation Way pass through attractive woodland and meadows and afford local residents convenient access to high quality natural settings.  The Town’s multi-use trails also provide important commuter alternatives for pedestrians and bicyclists.  

  • East Ithaca Recreation Way
  • Northeast Ithaca Recreation Way
  • South Hill Recreation Way
Preserves

Town Preserves

The five preserves within the Town of Ithaca consist of a mix of habitat types that support a wide range of plants and animals.  In general, the preserves are managed on a passive basis, including infrequent mowing of any paths, reduction of invasive species, maintaining a walkable trail surface as appropriate, and clean-up of storm damage as necessary.  The Town will not be developing these preserves for active uses and many of them have deed restrictions outlining their future uses, with the intention that these parcels remain ‘forever wild’.

The following are the five preserves in the Town:

  • Culver Road Preserve (containing Babcock Ridge, Dress Woods, Gerda Knegtman’s Glen, Marcia’s Woods) (155 acres)
  • East Ithaca Nature Preserve (28 acres)
  • Glenside Preserve (7 acres)
  • Pine Tree Wildlife Preserve (14 acres)
  • Westhaven Preserve (11 acres)
Recreation

Recreation Programs

In 2014, the Town of Caroline, Town of Ithaca and the Villages of Cayuga Heights and Lansing (JYC) joined together to form the new expanded Joint Youth Commission (JYC)to offer programs year-round for youth who live in these communities. Programs are offered after school and during school breaks and the summer. These programs are open to youth aged 10 and up.

The Recreation Partnership is an inter-municipal collaboration between ten municipalities within Tompkins County. The Ithaca Youth Bureau Recreation Division is the program provider. Tompkins County Youth Services provides planning and financial coordination. The contributions of the county and the participating municipalities help keep programs affordable and accessible. You are automatically a member if you are a resident of the City of Ithaca, Town of Ithaca, Towns of Caroline, Danby, Dryden, Enfield, Groton, Newfield, Ulysses (including students who attend Trumansburg Schools) or the Village of Lansing. As an RP member you receive a discounted program fee.

Recreational Facilities in the Town of Ithaca

Community Garden

West Hill Community Garden

Within a portion of the Town’s undeveloped West Hill Park is the West Hill Community Garden.  Access to the garden is provided by a short walking path from the end of Conifer Drive in the Linderman Creek development (located off NYS Route 79).  There are 20’ x 20’ plots available and water, compost, mulch and tools are provided.  For more information contact Paulette Rosa, Town Clerk, at 607-273-1721.