Comments being accepted on Hemlock-Canadice Forest plan
A public information session for the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s management plan for Hemlock-Candice State Forest is scheduled for 6:30 March 14 at Springwater Fire Hall, 8145 South Main St., Springwater.
DEC representatives will give a short presentation on the draft plan at 7 p.m., followed by a public comment sessions. DEC staff will be available to accept comments until 9 p.m.
The plan outlines how DEC will manage its lands around Hemlock and Candice lakes.
Comments on the plan will be accepted until April 15.
Some area environmental activists are concerned about the plan’s intent in relation to oil and gas development or leasing in the state lands around the lake.
A state DEC statement last week said that “the state has no intention of allowing any sort of drilling in the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest” and a spokeswoman noted that the draft plan is soliciting comments on all possible uses of the state forest land.
The plan doesn’t contain specific language about whether DEC will allow drilling on the forest lands, but says the state would entertain proposals from oil and gas companies interested in drilling on forest land around the lakes, which has raised concerns among advocates who are hoping for a large turnout of lake supporters at the meeting.
Bob Nilsson of Frack Free Genesee says the gas exploration and drilling is noted on about a dozen pages of the plan.
“The question is why is all of this in the UMP if they do not intend to lease?” Nilsson asked. “Doesn’t this create a conflict of interest for the DEC which now has a reason to green light fracking in New York?”
Cynthia Carestio, in a letter to the editor of The Livingston County News, said at least five sections of the plan are devoted to oil and gas development. She wrote that there is no regulatory document that prohibits leasing state land for drilling or high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which leaves the Hemlock-Canadice Forest “vulnerable.”
“The health and unique character of this remarkable area is at stake,” Carestio wrote.
The state forest, 20 miles east of Geneseo, covers about 6,700 acres in the towns of Livonia, Conesus and Springwater in Livingston County, and Richmond and Canadice in Ontario County.
Hemlock Lake, in Livingston County, and Canadice, in Ontario County, have supplied drinking water for Rochester and adjacent communities for more than 100 years. They are the only Finger Lakes with undeveloped shorelines.
The 10-year plan will outline multiple uses for the state forest. Management will be considered over a broad geographical area to ensure biological diversity and protection of the ecosystem along with the public benefits the land provides, DEC said.
Benefits such as good water quality, a diverse and healthy widlife population and recreational enjoyment are ensured by selectively warying the types and growth stages of tree stands within this unit,maintaining and creating grasslands and enhancing wetland areas, DEC said.
The plan offers general information on the unit’s history and geology, and an inventory of the unit’s resources. It also describes proposed goals and policy considerations for managing the unit.
The plan is available for review online at www.dec.ny.gov/lands/68822.html and at:
Wayland Library, 101 East Naples St., Wayland.
Livonia Library, 2 Washington St., Livonia.
Honeoye Library, 8704 Main St., Honeoye.
DEC, 6274 Avon-Lima Rd., Avon; and 7291 Coon Rd., Bath.
Written comments may be sent to email@example.com or NYSDEC, 7291 Coon Rd. Bath, NY 14810.