by Jeremy Moule
Just a reminder: tonight is the Department of Environmental Conservation's public information session on its draft plan for managing the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest.
The session starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the Springwater Fire Hall, 8145 South Main Street, Springwater. DEC representatives will give a presentation at 7 p.m. and a comment session will follow.
The plan outlines how the DEC would balance recreational use of the park with ecological preservation and restoration. The plan recommends a carry-in, carry-out policy for garbage, continued monitoring of the site's nesting bald eagles, and to continue timber harvesting to encourage plant diversity.
But the most controversial part of the plan deals with gas drilling. The plan doesn't contain specific language about whether the DEC will allow drilling on the forest lands. But it does say that the ecological sensitivity of much of the land, as well as intense recreational use, will probably lead to a recommendation against allowing surface drilling.
A state DEC spokesperson has also said that "the state has no intention of allowing any sort of drilling in the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest."
Hemlock and Canadice Lakes are the drinking water sources for much of the City of Rochester and some towns in the region.