Rushford Lake is located in the Northwest corner of Allegany County, New York. It is situated in both the Town of Rushford and the Town of Caneadea.
Rushford Lake is a man-made lake with waters held by the Caneadea Dam, build in the late 1920's. Originally owned an governed by Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E), in the early 1980's the Rushford Lake Landowner's Association provided leadership in establishing Rushford Lake as a state-chartered Special Recreation Area. By act of the New York State Legislature, a charter established the Rushford Lake Recreation District. It is governed by a five-person Board of Commissioners composed of one member appointed from each township and the remaining three members elected by vote from registered voters within the Recreation District.
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What's The Difference -- Rushford Lake Landowner's Association & Rushford Lake Recreation District?
Many people, especially newcomers to Rushford Lake, do not fully understand the difference between the Rushford Lake Landowner’s Association, Inc. and the Rushford Lake Recreation District. Rushford Lake, the Caneadea Dam and the surrounding shoreline (up to the 1450’ elevation) was owned by Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) from the inception of the lake until the early 1980’s. RG&E, is a local utility company based in Rochester, NY.
In 1958, with the encouragement of RG&E, the Rushford Lake Landowner’s Association was formed by concerned property owners surrounding the Lake who owned property above the 1450’ level. The Association created eleven “Areas” (A-K) around the lake who, through membership, elect members to a governing Board of Directors. The initial role of the Association was to act as an official liaison with RG&E concerning property issues and disputes.
In the late 1970’s, RG&E decided that they wanted to divest themselves of their interest in Rushford Lake and the Caneadea Dam, as they considered ownership too high a liability. The ultimate decision to possibly dismantle the dam was considered. In an effort to “Save the Lake”, the Rushford Lake Landowners’ Association organized a group of dedicated and hard working volunteers who worked for several years with representatives of RG&E and ultimately local, county and state officials. The result was the formation of the Rushford Lake Recreation District, chartered in 1981 through New York State Legislation as a Special Recreation District, a very unique classification of land use.
The District Charter calls for a managing board of five (5) commissioners -- the Rushford Lake Recreation District Board of Commissioners, all volunteer. The Board has the responsibility to oversee and manage the operation, finance and maintenance of what was once owned by RG&E and transferred to the Rushford Lake Recreation District. The Town of Caneadea and Rushford each appoint one Commissioner. District residents vote in a municipal election to fill the remaining three commissioner seats – each alternately elected to a three-year term. This is the only opportunity for residents to vote on representation, and any landowner in the district is eligible to vote if they register with the District office prior to the election.
Since its formation and through the transfer of ownership of the Lake, the Rushford Lake Landowners’ Association has expanded its role to include recreation, social and community activities and monitors the political fairness of activities within the District and townships. It has, for over fifty years, celebrated fellowship, hard work and integrity to assure the betterment of the Rushford Lake community as it unifies the interests of lake residents through open membership and elected representation.