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For Release: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

State Announces Completion of Hemlock-Canadice State Forest Unit Management Plan and Acquisition of 165 Acres to Further Protect Rochester's Water Supply

165-Acre Forest Property Opens up to the Public Property Adjacent to the State's Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, Ontario County

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Paul D'Amato today announced the completion of the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) and the acquisition of 165 acres of land to further protect the City of Rochester's water supply. Hemlock and Canadice lakes serve as the public water supply for the City of Rochester. Their protection was a significant reason for the State's 2010 acquisition of what is now the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. The announcement is in honor of Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York's commitment and accomplishments to protecting our environment, conserving open space, increasing access to the state's vast and magnificent natural resources, implementing clean energy initiatives and preparing for the effects of climate change.

Regional Director D'Amato said, "This is a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day. Nearly five years ago we were here celebrating the acquisition and permanent protection of the pristine lands surrounding Hemlock and Canadice Lakes and today we are announcing not only the Management Plan which will guide us in caring for those lands, but an exciting addition of 165 acres to the Hemlock Canadice State Forest."

The UMP provides management direction regarding public recreation, timber and grassland management, public access and endangered species habitat protection. It also clarifies that no drilling for oil and gas will take place in the forest, an issue that many members of the public expressed concerns about during the UMP process.

In addition to the clear prohibition on drilling, the UMP will improve access by adding North and South Hemlock Haul Roads to the list of roads open to motor vehicle use by people with qualifying disabilities and improve parking lots along Canadice Lake Road; increase public hunting and fishing by stocking pheasants and fish in suitable habitat; and acquire additional land parcels, such as the Christoff purchase.

The State Forest System was started in the 1920s to conserve forest resources, protect wildlife habitat, water quality and promote kindred public outdoor recreation activities. Over the years, State Forests have been created in nearly every county in the state. During Governor Cuomo's administration, DEC has purchased about 8,045 acres among 16 existing State Forests and created 6 brand new State Forests. The Governor also has included increased funds in the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to acquire additional forest lands by DEC and money from both the EPF and NY Works program to improve access and stewardship of State Forests.

The state's multiple use State Forest System, including Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, is "dual certified" under the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. These third party certification programs require that DEC manage its forestry resources sustainably, with the future in mind, and protective of water, air and wildlife habitat.

Earlier this month DEC acquired 164.5 acres of hardwood forest with road frontage on Burch Hill Road and County Route 37, in the town of Canadice, Ontario County from Canadice resident Barbara Christoff who wanted to ensure that her property, adjacent to the State's Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, would be open to the public and managed properly. The state's Environmental Protection Fund provided $285,000 for the land acquisition. DEC Regional Director D'Amato added, "I want to thank Ms. Christoff for her commitment to the permanent conservation of her land by selling it to the State, and the Governor for his continued support of the Environmental Protection Fund which makes acquisitions like this possible."

D'Amato presented a certificate of appreciation to Christoff for her efforts in supporting and expanding the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest at a ceremony held today at the Hemlock Park Pavilion in the town of Livonia, Livingston County.

Barbara Christoff stated, "Individuals, as individuals, have limited control over what happens in the future. So, it is with these thoughts that I feel grateful that the property is in the hands of the State DEC in perpetuity, particularly as it joins the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. New York State residents need to know that our neighbors who serve the State as professional employees effectively manage their awesome responsibilities."

"Barbara Christoff's decision to have her land become part of the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest preserves a unique environment for future generations and protects a public water supply that serves hundreds of thousands of consumers," said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. "This is a remarkable legacy that links Ms. Christoff to the proud history of Rochester's pristine, Finger Lakes reservoirs."

Kristine Singer, Canadice Town Supervisor, commented, "Beginning with the original 1996 Canadice Comprehensive Plan, and continuing through to the current 2015 version of the Plan, the primary goal for the Town has been to maintain the Town's rural characteristics. Barbara was a very active participant in the creation of the original 1996 Comprehensive Plan. Executing this property transfer to the DEC continues the ethic of stewardship that Barbara so vigorously endeavored to capture in her contributions to the original Comprehensive Plan almost 20 years ago. We are very pleased that Barbara has decided to transfer the bulk of her property in a single parcel rather than break it up into many smaller parcels which would be very appealing to developers. The lasting legacy of her action is a prime example of classic Canadice values."

The final UMP is available for review.

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