New York Department of Environmental Conservation officials kicked off the public input process directing the future of Canadice and Hemlock lakes Tuesday night in Springwater. Over the course of the next few years, DEC will develop a unit management plan for 6,684 acres surrounding the two lakes. It’s a process that officials are expecting will take at least three years.


“We’re at the very beginning of the process,” said DEC Senior Forester Gretchen Cicora.


DEC acquired the acreage earlier this year from the City of Rochester.

New York Department of Environmental Conservation officials kicked off the public input process directing the future of Canadice and Hemlock lakes Tuesday night in Springwater. Over the course of the next few years, DEC will develop a unit management plan for 6,684 acres surrounding the two lakes. It’s a process that officials are expecting will take at least three years.


“We’re at the very beginning of the process,” said DEC Senior Forester Gretchen Cicora.


DEC acquired the acreage earlier this year from the City of Rochester.


While state officials are performing an inventory of the new acquisition, public comments are sought through the scoping process and a committee to oversee the UMP has been selected.


The state has a basic template of what goes into a UMP, but Hemlock and Canadice are unique in that the lakes they encompass are sources of public drinking water. Cicora explained most state forests are at hilltops, not at the bottom of a watershed as is the case at Canadice and Hemlock.


Rochester has used the watershed as its primary drinking water since 1876 – their other source is Lake Ontario. The city began buying up properties around the lakes in the late 1800s. In the 1950s, the city achieved its goal of a minimum 200-foot buffer surrounding the lakes.


City of Rochester Conservationist Don Root said one of the reasons for the city’s decision to turn the area over to the state was financial and will help lower taxes the city pays.


But more importantly, DEC is a natural steward for the area.


“This assures that the property will be protected forever,” Root said.


For now, DEC is open for comments from the public and will continue to accept them until 30 days after the public hearing for the draft management plan.


“That will be years into the future,” Cicora said. “We can’t do everything that everyone wants, but we will certainly listen to suggestions.”


Comments can be sent to the Bath office at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Lands and Forest, Region 8, 7291 Coon Road, Bath, NY 144810; by e-mail to r8ump@gw.dec.state. ny.us.


(Contact Les Bowen at 585-335-2271 or lesbowen@dansvilleonline.com)