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Natural Resources

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Thanks to glacial recession 10,000 years ago, we now live in a fertile and scenic region punctuated by long, thin lakes, which we know as the Finger Lakes. Ontario County lays claim to five of the 11 Finger Lakes.

Hemlock and Canadice lakes
, which supply drinking water to the city of Rochester, are notable for the largely undeveloped landscape surrounding them, including the steep hills and trees of the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. This section of the county is ideal for hunting, fishing, hiking and bird-watching (the southern part of Hemlock Lake is renowned for bald eagles).

Canandaigua Lake is prized for its clear, well-oxygenated water.  Canandaigua and surrounding communities rely on the lake’s cleanliness for its drinking water. The southern end of the lake offers sweeping hillside vistas for boaters and lake residents. Power boats and fishing boats can access the lake at Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park.

Honeoye Lake is small, but offers excellent fishing opportunities, especially for walleye, bass, perch and bluegill. Boaters can access the water at Honeoye Lake Boat Launch State Park

Seneca Lake is the largest (in terms of area) and deepest of the Finger Lakes, and has the reputation of being the lake trout capital of the world. The gentle hillsides hugging the lake offer the perfect climate for grape production, which is why Seneca Lake has more wineries than any other Finger Lake. Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva awards swimmers and picnic seekers with a broad vista of sparkling blue water.

Streams, forests, hills and other waterways in the county also provide outlets for anglers and nature lovers. For example, Grimes Glen County Park invites the public to walk its cool streambed to enjoy waterfalls and forest vegetation. Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill offers camping, rugged hiking and mountain biking trails, picnic facilities and a breathtaking view of the Bristol Valley. 

Not only did glacial movement create the Finger Lakes, but the tilth left behind made the soils in Ontario County ideal for farming. Agriculture is a significant part of the economy here, with farms producing high quality dairy, vegetables, field crops, fruits (including grapes), nursery plants, beef and poultry. 

Communities throughout the county host weekly farmers markets featuring fresh, locally grown foods throughout the growing season.

The bucolic landscape makes the county’s rural network of roads ideal for cyclists.