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Rush Oak Openings Unique Area

Rush Oak Openings Unique Area protects the globally rare plant community commonly referred to as an "oak opening" or "oak savannah", please keep this in mind if you visit the area.

hikinghuntingsnow shoeingcross country skiingtrappingparking icon key

Rush Oak Openings locator map

Grass burning at Rush Oak Openings.
Prescribed fire burning the grass April 22, 2013.

The 230-acre Rush Oak Openings Unique Area features the globally rare plant community commonly referred to as an "oak opening" or "oak savannah", please keep this in mind if you visit the area. This site is the only known intact oak opening remaining in New York State. Oak openings were very common in the Midwest (where the prairie met eastern forests) prior to European settlement. In addition to the oak openings habitat, there is oak woodlands, limestone woodlands, wetlands, successional old field communities and the transitions between each of these types.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

Rush Oak Openings has no designated recreation trails, however the Rush Oak Openings Haul Road connects the two parking lots, and many prescribed fire control lines branch off from it, all are available for exploring on foot.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross country skiingsnowshoeing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

Rush Oak Openings has no designated recreation trails, however the Rush Oak Openings Haul Road connects the two parking lots, and many prescribed fire control lines branch off from it, all are available for exploring in the winter on cross-county skis and snowshoes.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting trapping

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations

Rush Oak Openings Unique Area is open for hunting and trapping during appropriate season. Target shooting is prohibited.

Wildlife Viewing

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Although there are no facilities developed for viewing wildlife, like many places in the Finger Lakes you are likely to see wildlife on this land. New York's Finger Lakes encompasses a wide variety of habitats and landscapes made up of mountainous hills, forests, grasslands and wetlands. Everything from black bear to black-throated blue warblers and brook trout to wild turkey reside in the Finger Lakes region. The grasslands are home to a variety of bird species including northern harrier and state-endangered Henslow's sparrow. White-tailed deer and fisher thrive in the forested hills, while beaver and mink flourish in the wetlands. Outdoorsmen and women from across New York State flock to this area year round for its exquisite wildlife watching and unbeatable hunting.

Directions

parking

From exit 11 on I 390, head south on Route 15 about 2 ¾ mile then turn east onto Honeoye Falls-Five Points Rd for less than one mile to the 5 Points Parking Lot. OR, continue on Route 15 another ½ mile (total 3 ¼ miles) to the Rte 15 Parking Lot.

  • 5 Points Parking Lot is located off Honeoye Falls Five Points Road, 0.9 miles from its intersection with NYS Route 15S. (42.961472°N, 77.668036°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • NYS Route 15 Parking Lot is located off of NYS Route 15 (W Henrietta Road), 3.0 miles south from its intersection with NYS Route 251 (Rush Scottsville Road). (42.961433°N, 77.685448°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations, and Outdoor Safety

All users of Rush Oak Openings Unique Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on Unique Areas to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

Don't Move Firewood. The insects it carries could kill the forests you love

Site-Specific Rules for Rush Oak Openings Unique Area

Anyone enjoying this property must observe rules which protect visitors and the globally rare plant communities located at Rush Oak Openings Unique Area.

  1. No target shooting
  2. Be extremely careful with fire - grass burns very easily and quickly
  3. No camping

How We Manage Rush Oak Openings Unique Area

At Rush Oak Openings, restoration and management of the Oak Opening Community will prevent the disappearance of oak opening remnants, by increasing the diversity of native plants, reducing and possibly eliminating invasive species, and reintroduction of fire to fire-maintained communities.

Unit Management Plan

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the 1999 Rush Oak Openings Unit Management Plan (PDF, 222 KB) and the Rush Oak Openings Prescribed Fire Plan.

Map of Northern Finger Lakes Unit
Map of the Northern Finger Lakes UMP

In early 2015 the Department started the development process of a new Unit Management Plan by combining Rush Oak Openings Unique Area with eight other properties to create the Northern Finger Lakes Unit Management Plan.

Properties in the Northern Finger Lakes UMP are located in five counties--Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca and Yates. They include:

The purpose of a unit management plan is twofold: 1) to define management goals and objectives for state land and, 2) to prepare a ten-year plan of action to achieve those objectives. Public involvement is an important component to the UMP process. The plan has not yet been written, and your input will assist us in assembling it. We invite you to provide us with your comments or concerns regarding the management of any of the DEC properties included in the UMP. Your comments may be general or specific and will be accepted at any time throughout the process.

Comments, concerns or suggestions may be emailed to Region 8 UMP email box (r8.ump@dec.ny.gov) or mailed to the Bath Sub-office: NYS DEC, State Land Management, 7291 Coon Rd, Bath NY 14810.

Once the draft plan is completed, the public will be invited to review it and attend a public meeting to share your views on the Draft UMP. Comments will be weighed against law, regulations, DEC Commissioner's directives and other public comments before changes are made to the draft plan. All questions and/or comments will be included in the final UMP.

Habitat, Ecological Communities, Wildlife, and Vegetation

Image of forest worker starting a perscribed fire
Starting the prescribed fire March 23, 2012.

Under the Unit Management Plan and the Prescribed Fire Plan, invasive brush and trees have been removed, grass seeds harvested then re-planted in cleared areas, and prescribed fires completed in the openings and woodland areas. Over the years, this active management has resulted in increased abundance and health of the native warm-season grasses and decreased population of exotic plants such as honeysuckle.

Grassland and Oak ecosystems depend upon frequent fires for the preservation and maintenance of their structure and biodiversity for several reasons. Fire increases vegetative productivity, flowering, native species diversity, and suppresses fire-intolerant exotic species that are less adapted to survive periodic fire. In grassland communities, fine fuels (thatch) often accumulate faster than it can decompose. The annual buildup of the litter layer makes it difficult for herbaceous species to sprout and grow.

The prescribed fire takes place in spring, or in the fall; for safety reasons during active burning Rush Oak Openings Unique Area may be temporarily closed to public use, usually no more than 1 or 2 days annually.

In 1990 as part of the 1986 Environmental Quality Bond Act, the Department acquired 124 acres from the Quinn family on the east side with road frontage on Honeoye Falls- 5 Points Rd. In 1997, with the assistance of the Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Protection Fund, NYS DEC purchased an additional 106 acres from the Goff/Spink family on the west side with road frontage on West Henrietta Rd/US Rte. 15, bringing the total to 230 acres owned by the Department. This is why the east side of the property is known as the Quinn Tract and the western side is known as the Goff Tract.

Nearby Areas, Amenities, Attractions, and Other Information

DEC Lands and Facilities

Nearest villages are Honeoye Falls and Avon, Rochester is the nearest city.

Monroe County Visitor Information (leaves DEC's website) and Visit Rochester (leaves DEC's website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.


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    Bureau of State Land Management
    DEC Bath Sub-Office
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    Bath, NY 14810
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