Willet, New York

by | October 16, 2023

Located in Cortland County, New York, Willet is a charming town with a unique geography that contributes to its natural beauty and appeal. Situated in the Finger Lakes region, Willet is surrounded by rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque landscapes. Covering an area of approximately 34 square miles, the town is characterized by its rural setting and tranquil atmosphere.

Willet is nestled in the southeastern part of the state, about 25 miles northeast of Ithaca and 20 miles southwest of Cortland. The town is bordered by several other towns, including Marathon to the west, Cincinnatus to the east, and Lapeer to the south. The Tioughnioga River flows through the southern part of Willet, adding to the scenic beauty of the area.

The terrain of Willet is diverse, featuring gently sloping hills, expansive valleys, and fertile farmlands. The town’s elevation varies, with the highest point at approximately 1,500 feet above sea level. This elevation change gives rise to stunning vistas, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

The area is rich in natural resources, including forests, streams, and wetlands. Willet is home to several state forests, such as the Taylor Valley State Forest and the Casterline Pond State Forest, which provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and wildlife observation. These forests are teeming with a variety of flora and fauna, adding to the ecological significance of the region.

The climate in Willet is characterized by four distinct seasons. Summers are generally warm and humid, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit. Winters can be cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Spring and fall bring mild temperatures and vibrant foliage, making them ideal seasons for outdoor enthusiasts.

Agriculture plays a significant role in Willet’s economy and landscape. The town’s fertile soil and favorable climate make it suitable for various crops, including corn, soybeans, and hay. Many farms dot the countryside, showcasing the area’s agricultural heritage. Farmers markets and roadside stands offer fresh produce and locally made products, contributing to the town’s vibrant rural community.

Willet is also known for its numerous lakes and reservoirs. Tully Lake, located in the western part of the town, is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and water recreation. The region’s water bodies are home to a variety of fish species, including bass, trout, and walleye, attracting anglers from far and wide.

In addition to its natural beauty, Willet boasts a close-knit community with a rich history. The town is home to several historical landmarks, including the Willet Free Library, which has been serving the community since 1926. The library offers a place for residents to gather, learn, and engage in various educational activities.

Overall, Willet, New York, offers a scenic and peaceful environment with its rolling hills, fertile farmlands, and abundant natural resources. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, a sense of community, or a place to reconnect with nature, Willet has something for everyone.

History, Economy and Politics of Willet, New York

Willet, New York is a small rural town located in Cortland County in the southern part of the state. With a population of around 1,000 residents, Willet is characterized by its picturesque landscapes, close-knit community, and rich history. This article aims to provide an overview of the town’s history, economy, and politics.

History: Willet was first settled in the early 1800s by pioneers attracted to the fertile soil and abundant natural resources in the area. The town was named after Colonel Marinus Willett, a Revolutionary War hero. Throughout its history, Willet has been primarily an agricultural community, with farming playing a crucial role in its economy.

Economy: Agriculture remains the backbone of Willet’s economy, with many local farmers engaging in dairy farming, crop cultivation, and livestock rearing. The fertile soil and favorable climate make it an ideal location for agriculture. In recent years, there has been some diversification in the local economy, with small businesses, tourism, and outdoor recreation gaining prominence. The town’s natural beauty and proximity to state parks and recreational areas have attracted tourists and outdoor enthusiasts, contributing to the local economy.

Politics: Willet operates under a town government system, with an elected Town Supervisor and Town Board responsible for making decisions and managing local affairs. The town’s political landscape is characterized by community involvement and a strong sense of civic duty. The residents actively participate in town meetings, local elections, and community events, which fosters a spirit of democracy and collaboration.

The town is also part of Cortland County, which has its own elected officials, including a County Executive and a Legislature. These officials oversee county-wide matters and provide various services to the towns within the county, including infrastructure development, public safety, and social services.

Willet, like many small towns, faces certain challenges in its economy and infrastructure. The decline of the dairy industry and increasing competition from large-scale agricultural operations have put pressure on local farmers. The town also struggles with limited access to high-speed internet and other modern amenities, which can hinder economic growth and development.

Despite these challenges, Willet continues to thrive as a close-knit community with a strong sense of pride and resilience. The town’s residents actively support local businesses, volunteer in community initiatives, and work together to preserve the town’s rich history and natural beauty.

In conclusion, Willet, New York, is a small rural town with a rich history, primarily driven by agriculture. The town’s economy relies heavily on farming, with recent diversification in small businesses and tourism. Willet operates under a town government system, with active community involvement in local affairs. While the town faces challenges, it remains a tight-knit community that takes pride in its heritage and works together to build a prosperous future.