Almost every tree was marked for cutting. The property was acquired by Cotton-Hanlon Inc., a company that manages forested lands for timber harvest, with the intent to log it. Saving this old-growth forest involved years of negotiations between Cotton-Hanlon and the Cornell Botanic Gardens Natural Areas Committee. Acquired in 1997, the Fischer Old-growth Forest is named to honor Richard B. Fischer (1919-2005), professor of environmental education, for his delight in natural history and his tenacity and can-do attitude toward environmental protection, which he shared with his many students.
This natural area was also recognized for its significance by the Old-growth Forest Network, and was registered as the network’s 16th Eastern Old-growth Forest in September, 2013.
David Bandler ’55, a Cornell alumnus and emeritus professor of Food Science, and his wife Lenore expanded this natural area by donating the 17-acre Bandler Family Tract in 2015 and the 42-acre Bandler Family Forest in 2017.
In 2023, Shamrock Communities LLC donated 81 acres that included the large wetland at the bottom of the Inlet Valley expanding the protected area to 181 acres of diverse and locally rare plant community types and over 40 acres of old-growth forest.