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Hemlock-Canadice State Forest

View Hemlock-Canadice State Forest Brochure (PDF) (8.5x11, 859 KB) || View Public Boat Launches: Hemlock Lake, Canadice Lake, Genesee River & Black Creek (PDF) (8.5x11, 375 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

Hemlock-Canadice State Forest locator map

Hemlock-Canadice State Forest is located 20 miles east of Geneseo, between the hamlets of Hemlock and Springwater. It covers approximately 6,684 acres in the towns of Livonia, Conesus and Springwater in Livingston County and the towns of Richmond and Canadice in Ontario County.

Hemlock and Canadice Lakes have provided drinking water for the City of Rochester and adjacent communities for more than 100 years. In order to protect water quality, the City acquired much of the watershed property around the lakes. Over the decades, the land was planted and/or naturally reverted to forest, with few remaining traces of its former uses except for stone walls. Today, Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, with their steep forested shorelines guarding the deep clear water, show visitors a glimpse of the past when all the Finger Lakes were wild lakes.

We ask visitors to respect this very sensitive area as a source of public drinking water.

Recreation

The City of Rochester has been able to allow public access for decades, by limiting uses to activities that will not affect water quality. DEC will continue the City's high level of stewardship and protection of the lands and waters, while maintaining public access for fishing, hiking, nature study, boating and hunting. Activities in Hemlock-Canadice State Forest are now subject to DEC's Rules and Regulations for the Use of State Lands, 6 NYCRR Part 190, as well as any other applicable state statutes, rules and regulations.

Aerial view of Canadice Lake
Canadice Lake

In addition, specific regulations - 6 NYCRR 190.26 - have been developed by DEC, mirroring those established by the City of Rochester, allow many recreational activities on Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, but prohibit uses that could threaten water quality.

Hemlock Park - located at the north end of Hemlock Lake is owned and managed by the Town of Livonia. See link in right column.

Fishing - Fishing is allowed in most locations on Hemlock-Canadice State Forest.

  • Park in provided spaces. Do not block roads, trails or boat launches.
  • No cleaning, gutting or depositing entrails within 100 feet of any water.
  • Do not transport or introduce any aquatic plants or animals into the water.
  • It is unlawful to posses or operate a boat, to ice fish,to traverse the ice or water, or to fish from shore on:
    • On Hemlock Lake: north of the northerly boat launch, and between Boat Launch Road and Hemlock Lake.
    • On Canadice Lake; within the northernmost 500 feet of the lake

Boating - Boats are allowed, but a mechanically propelled vessels must be less than 17 feet in length, and any motors must be 10HP or less. A non-mechanically propelled vessel must be less than 24 feet in length. Do not transport or introduce any aquatic plants or animals into the water.

See Fishing, above, for areas where boats are prohibited.

Boats may not be stored on this property

To help stop invasive species from contaminating the Lakes, please:

  • do not launch boats at Hemlock & Canadice Lakes within 5 days of boating on other waters;
  • wash down your boats after removing them from other waters;
  • check your trailer and propellers;
  • do not "bring" any water from other lakes or streams;
  • do not flush motors, bilges, bait buckets, livewells, etc. within 100 feet of any lake or stream, and
  • "carry in/carry out", i.e. leave no trash behind.

Swimming - No swimming, bathing, water skiing, or tubing.

Trails - Hiking is permitted on Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. Please respect all posted boundary lines.

  • There are approximately 14 miles of marked hiking trails on Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. A map and further details are available on the top of this page.
  • Dogs must be kept on leash or controlled at all times.
  • Motorized off-road use is prohibited, including, but not limited to, ATV's and 4x4's.
  • Snowmobiles are only allowed on designated trails, after big game season ends and with sufficient snow cover. See the Snowmobile page.
  • Possession or riding of horses is prohibited on the property.
  • In winter, it is unlawful to traverse the ice in the locations prohibited to fishing.

Camping - Camping is not allowed on this property.

It is allowed on other State Forests, see the Places to Go page.

Fires - No campfires or charcoal fires.

Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted. Traps may not be set on public road right of ways. Body gripping traps set on land must be at least 100 feet from public trails.

Target shooting is not allowed.

Permanent tree stands are prohibited. However, a tree stand or blind is allowed, provided that it does not injure any trees, is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season, but no more than thirty days in one location per calendar year.

Geo-caching is allowed although caches must be marked with the owner's contact information and may not be placed in dangerous or ecologically sensitive locations.

Additional Tips for Using State Forests

Facilities

North Hemlock Boat Launch - Located at the north end of Hemlock Lake, accessed from State Highway 15A, with room for vehicles with trailers to park.

South Hemlock Boat Launch - Located at the south end of Hemlock Lake, accessed from State Highway 15A, with room for vehicles with trailers to park.

Canadice Boat Launch - Located on the east shore of Canadice Lake, accessed from Canadice Lake Rd, park along Canadice Lake Road.

Canadice Canoe Launch - Located on the south end of Canadice Lake, a short walk from Canadice Lake Rd, with room for vehicles to park.

History

The Hemlock-Canadice State Forest comprises about 6,684 acres in Livingston and Ontario Counties. Beginning in 1896 the City of Rochester started acquiring the properties adjacent to Hemlock Lake, in order to protect the public water supplied by Hemlock Lake. In June of 2010, most of the land was sold to the State of New York, and re-named the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest in the process.

Early on the City of Rochester realized the value of a water supply protected by forest cover. However, much of the watershed property being acquired in the early 1900's was in agricultural use. Therefore, in 1902, an aggressive tree-planting program began in order to provide the desired forest cover. During next 29 years, 3.7 million conifer seedlings were planted on 3,000 acres. The remaining acres naturally re-grew to trees without needing to be planted.

The planted species included Scots pine, white pine, red pine, Norway spruce and a few others. In 1929 disease was noted in the plantations. Dr. H.H. York, NYS Forest Pathologist, was called upon to investigate. Three fungal diseases, "new to Dr. York," were observed. A cooperative effort between Rochester and the Department began. In order to retain forest cover if the conifers died, a program to underplant the stressed conifers with hardwood seedlings commenced. To provide the seedlings, a hardwood nursery was started by the City in 1934. From 1936-1940, 475,000 hardwood seedlings including oak, hickory, ash, walnut, and others were planted beneath the conifers. This effort was apparently not very successful, due largely to the conifers not dying out. However, there are remnants evident today, where straight rows of planted hardwoods illustrate this unique work.

Field Notes

In the process of purchasing the entire shoreline of these two small Finger Lakes, the City of Rochester has preserved Hemlock and Canadice Lakes as the only Finger Lakes with no house or cottage development along the shorelines. This unique condition offers a serene atmosphere, with their steep forested shorelines guarding the deep clear water, and gives visitors a glimpse of the past when all of the Finger Lakes were wild lakes. Protecting water quality continues as the most important function of this property.

Today, Hemlock-Canadice and all State Forests in New York are managed for multiple benefits to serve the needs of the people of New York. Sustainable management practices ensure a perpetual supply of timber, a diversity of wildlife habitats, compatible recreational opportunities and clean water.

Driving Directions

From the North:
Take Exit 9 off of Interstate Highway 390. Travel south on State Highway 15, in Lakeville turn east on State Highway 20A, follow 20A just past the hamlet of Hemlock continue straight onto State Highway 15A.

From the South:
Take Exit 3 off of Interstate Highway 390. Travel north on State Highway 15, in Springwater continue straight onto State Highway 15A.

Important Phone Numbers

NYS DEC
State Land Management
7291 Coon Rd.
Bath, NY 14810
607-776-2165

Law Enforcement: 585-226-6706
Emergencies: 911