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Hemlock-Canadice State Forest

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  • Hemlock-Canadice State Forest

    An article in "Life in the Finger Lakes" led me to an interest in an obscure part of this state land.

    It was said that there was some "old-growth" forest still left here and that there was a bit of unique history here. Through some other sources, I found out something that I knew, but didn't really know the entire picture. Apparently the city (of Rochester) used to own the land (this I knew) but they tried to secretly log this "old growth" and eventually wound up putting a 2-year moratorium on the logging. During that time something happened that I'm not exactly clear on, and I didn't bother to research, but the state acquired the land (as we know now as it currently still is held by the state).

    I was curious what the protection status was of these trees, and what the situation is. I've yet to get out there, and I actually don't know exactly where the area is, so it may take me a few whacks, but as far as I can tell from the UMP for the area, those trees are off limits for harvest - mostly due to slope conditions and management for water quality considerations. I believe these UMPs are written every 10 years, so every 10 years there *could* be consideration for changes in management and logging, so the trees are not really protected - not nearly in the sense as is forest preserve. But seen as how these are reservoirs for the city, and swimming is not even allowed, I don't see any huge threat to management which could jeopardize the the water supply (although arguably there are other issues that are not being addressed i.e. invasives).

    I decided to contact the two professors at FLCC mentioned in the article. I didn't get much info, but based on what they say, the trees are not actually old growth (hence my use of quotations above). Dr. Gilman mentioned the site as being "persistent forest" rather than old-growth. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I plan on checking into it. I know it's mainly oak forest, red and white oak. Perhaps what he means is it was selectively harvested for timber or firewood by nearby farms but was never heavily logged or cleared. Anyway, he told me I should contact the Ranger for the area for more info, which I have yet to do.

    It's an interesting prospect, and something that maybe should have more protection than it currently has.
    Last edited by montcalm; 04-08-2022, 05:15 PM. Reason: typos

  • #2
    Let me know when you go to check it out. If available, I'd traipse around those woods some more.
    "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

    My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal

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    • #3
      I'll send you an email. I think they are down on the south-west end of Hemlock lake. I might just paddle across from the southern launch, as I don't know if there is a good trail around the southern wetlands.

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      • #4
        If you have not found it yet, here is a link to the law governing the Hemlock Canadice Forest:

        https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Docum...ta=(sc.Default)
        "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

        My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks - I never saw that, but I knew the regs. I think they are posted at the canoe launch - I'm sure the motor boat reg and swimming regs are posted at the others.


          I was more interested in the conservation regulations the state is using to guide itself.


          I forgot to mention in the OP, but this forest was not unknown to locals. The reason the city of Rochester had place the moratorium on logging was due to public outrage. This happened before I started visiting the lakes - I knew of them, but I never really utilized them recreationally.

          The DEC also mentions in the UMP that there is "no old-growth forest" here. Based on their criteria, they don't see it. It doesn't necessarily mean it's not of some importance - it probably matters less about the trees that are standing and more about the other parts of the environment.

          At any rate, we have so few stands of unmolested forest in this area of NY, perhaps we need to be more careful and leave more undisturbed.

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          • #6
            As a kid, we used to get a permit from the City of Rochester to canoe & fish on Hemlock. There was almost no one on the lake back then. The boat size limit was smaller too. Max was 12' except for canoes (no one kayaked back then except whitewater experts).
            "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

            My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm a bit curious about WTF was going on with the transfer to the state. I'm guessing the city made some poor decisions that led to this, the Fast Ferry perhaps?

              I know at one point I did look up some history and I was able to find maps of the lakes when they were populated with camps and some history about them being removed.

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              • #8
                Iirc there was a worry that political shifts might threaten the waters and lands and some thought having the state own it would mitigate the possibility. Plus the $ thing. The fast ferry was a clusterF, but I don't think it played a role.
                "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

                My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal

                Comment


                • #9
                  It seems the the city wanted to take those old oaks. That tells me they needed some cash. My thought was perhaps the FF debacle led to that... it happened just before this did. But who knows really?

                  There's been some thought (in my head) that perhaps local, rather than state, management of forest and waters would create more ownership and community, but it seems to go the opposite direction.

                  I did however notice in some study that Monroe county has almost no state land (there's a little up by the lake), but I had a theory that more wealthy counties have more localized land management than state.

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