Hemlock and Canadice Lakes

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Hemlock and Canadice Lakes State Forest

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Welcome to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. This 6,684 acre property is truly unique - two beautiful Finger Lakes with largely undeveloped shorelines. Hemlock and Canadice Lakes have provided drinking water for the City of Rochester for more than 100 years. To protect water quality, the city acquired much of the watershed property around the lakes. Over the decades, the land was reforested, but a few traces of its past, such as stone walls, remain. 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. DEC will carefully manage this intact forested watershed for compatible public recreation.



The DEC will continue Rochester’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 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. In addition, the following specific rules, 6 NYCRR 190.26, allow many recreational activities but prohibit uses that could threaten water quality.

For the purposes of this section, Hemlock-Canadice State Forest refers to the Phelps and Gorham Purchase in Townships 7, 8 and 9, Ranges 5 and 6, located in the Finger Lakes Region, approximately 30 miles south of the city of Rochester. The property includes two large undeveloped parcels surrounding Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, totaling 6,684 acres in the towns of Canadice, Conesus, Livonia, Richmond and Springwater in Ontario and Livingston counties, being the same lands as more particularly described in deeds conveying such lands to the People of the State of New York, on file in the Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY, and duly recorded in the offices of the county clerks of Ontario and Livingston counties. Said Hemlock-Canadice State Forest shall be hereinafter referred to in this section as “state forest”.

Please remember that this is a very sensitive area because it protects public drinking water.

In or on the state forest, it is unlawful for any person to:

  • Possess or operate a boat, ice fish, traverse the ice or water, or fish from shore on:
    i. Hemlock Lake: north of the northerly boat launch, and between Boat Launch Road and Hemlock Lake and
    ii. Canadice Lake: northern most 500 feet of the lake.

  • Possess or operate: a mechanically propelled vessel over 17 feet in length, a mechanically propelled vessel with a motor exceeding ten HP, or a non-mechanically propelled vessel over 24 feet in length.

  • Flush motors, bilges, bait buckets, live wells, or wash boats, except more than 100 feet from lakes and streams.

  • Swim, bathe, wade, water ski, tube.

  • Set, light or use a campfire, charcoal fire.

  • Camp.

  • Operate an all-terrain vehicle.

  • Operate a snowmobile, except on designated trails when there is sufficient snow cover.

  • Discharge a firearm, except for legally taking game species.

  • Transport or introduce any aquatic plants or animals into the water.

  • Introduce, use or maintain any horses, work animals or other animals.

  • Possess a domesticated pet unless it is leashed or controlled at all times.

  • Deposit any feces, or animal entrails less than 100 feet from any water body or watercourse.

  • Commit any act that may result in contamination of any portion of the lakes or streams.