335 New Acres Will Help Protect Native Trout in Finger Lakes
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 335 acres are being added by New York State to the Harriet Hollister Spencer State Park Recreation Area in Livingston and Ontario Counties. The three parcels, purchased from The Nature Conservancy, will expand year-round, trail-based recreational opportunities in the Finger Lakes and improve the habitat for native brook trout.
"The natural beauty of this region is one of the largest economic and tourism drivers for the Finger Lakes, and this expansion will ensure that these lands remain protected and able to be enjoyed for generations to come," Governor Cuomo said. "Purchasing these new acres will expand one of the area's most scenic recreational spaces, enhancing trout fishing and offering more places to explore the outdoors."
The largest parcel, a 306-acre property in Springwater, Livingston County, will provide permanent protection to Reynolds Gully, a high-quality stream that passes through the property. To help trout more easily pass up and downstream, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently removed an unneeded dam and replaced it with a series of stone and log step pool structures. These will create a stable, gradual passageway for fish to access approximately two miles of headwater stream habitat, which eventually flows into Hemlock Lake.
The 1,550-acre Harriett Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area boasts scenic views of Honeoye Lake and includes groomed cross-country ski trails maintained by the Rochester Cross-Country Ski Club, a snowmobile route, and multi-use hiking, biking and snowshoe trails.
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, “The enlargement of the Harriet Hollister Spencer area is another example of how Governor Cuomo is expanding outdoor recreational opportunities for New York residents and visitors. Our State Parks continue to grow and improve. I’m grateful to The Nature Conservancy for its partnership in this important work.”
Jim Howe, The Nature Conservancy’s Central & Western New York Director, said, “The Nature Conservancy has helped Harriett Hollister Spencer Park nearly double in size over the last six years because we believe in its value to people and nature. This addition will conserve an area that gives people access not only to clean water but also to natural beauty¯the excitement of mountain biking, cross-country skiing, watching birds migrating or exploring a healthy forest. We’re proud to be part of this collaborative effort to boost nature and outdoor recreation in the Finger Lakes.”
Katy Dunlap, Eastern Water Project director for Trout Unlimited, said, “In New York, less than 5 percent of watersheds that historically contained intact eastern brook trout populations actually support native brook trout today. By permanently protecting the lands that surround Reynolds Gully, New York State is helping to reverse that trend and ensure that our children and grandchildren will have the opportunity to fish for native trout on publicly accessible lands in the Finger Lakes.”
Funding from the Environmental Protection Fund allowed State Parks to acquire the three parcels for $498,000. The acquisition will build on New York State’s goal to protect open space in the western Finger Lakes, and create a protected natural corridor of public lands between the Honeoye, Hemlock and Candice Lakes basins.