Early settlers tried to farm around Canadice Lake but found the glacially scoured land
ill-suited for farming. Many areas around the lake were too steep or too wet for growing crops. Eventually, the Canadice Lake shore became rimmed with cottages. However, in 1872 the city of Rochester decided to use Canadice and Hemlock Lakes as a water supply. The first conduit for water was completed in 1876. By 1947 Rochester had purchased all of the shoreline property and removed the cottages in order to help protect the water supply for its growing population. Although it was very difficult for the cottage residents to leave their land, this area is now free of the commercialization that is so rampant on the other Finger Lakes. Ninety-foot-deep Canadice Lake is the smallest of the Finger Lakes, but it has the highest elevation, at 1,096 feet, one of the reasons it is such a good water supply for the city. Flow from Canadice Outlet Creek is diverted into the northern end of Hemlock Lake. >From there the City of Rochester Water Bureau conditions the water for drinking and uses gravity to send it north for 29 miles via large pipes at a rate of up to 48 million gallons per 24-hour period.
Today, the Hemlock and Canadice Lakes watershed continues to be Rochester�s primary source of drinking water. The watershed covers more than 40,000 acres of land, of which Rochester owns 7,000 acres. A second-growth forest prospers on the land and many abandoned farm fields have been reforested with conifers. Bald eagles are now present in the area.
To protect city property and the supply of drinking water, the city asks that all visitors obtain a Watershed Visitor Permit, one of the easiest permits to obtain. Just stop at the visitor�s self-serve, permit station located at the north end of Hemlock Lake on Rix Hill Road off Route 15A (see the maps on page 40 or 47) or download it at
http://www.cityofrochester.gov/des/docs/2006watershedbroch.pdf. There are no fees or forms to fill out, but the permit document details the dos and don�ts to help keep the area pristine, so it�s important to read it. Swimming and camping are not permitted. Boats up to 16 feet long with motors up to 10 horsepower are okay.
The Canadice Lake Trail, an abandoned town road, meanders back and forth through oak, maple, tulip poplar, and conifer trees, but is never very far from the lake. See if you can spot the old cottage foundations along the way.
� From the parking area, head south past the silver gate.
� Pass a side loop to the left (level and easy biking), then multiple trails to your right. (You can bike these, but they are steep dirt paths with sharp bends. Only attempt them with a mountain bike.)
� At the end of the lake, the trail turns left (E) onto gravel.
� At the bench you have a choice. You can continue straight and soon arrive at a blue, gated trail entrance off of Canadice Lake Road (N42o 41.513 - W77o 144), or you can turn right to explore a circle trail with a bench in the center. Off the circle is another trail that also takes you to Canadice Lake Road (N42o 41.352 - W77o 34.189).
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