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West Branch State Forest

West Branch Sate Forest locator map

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West Branch State Forest contains 527 acres and was acquired in 1939 for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation and watershed protection.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

The unit has no marked foot trails at this time, making it ideal for those who enjoy recreational activities in a primitive forest setting. There is a .47-mile snowmobile that traverses the property, running north and south, which may be used for hiking.

Camping

primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

At-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations

The tributaries of Egger Brook run through the property and are classified as protected trout streams. Eventually, these streams flow into the West Branch of the Mohawk River.

North Central NY Fishing provides information on fishing in the area and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

There is a .47-mile snowmobile trail that traverses the property, running north and south. The snowmobile trails in the area are groomed and maintained by Taberg Trailblazers (leaves DEC website) through a volunteer stewardship agreement.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Directions

From the City of Rome go north on NYS Route 26. Continue north through the 4-way intersection with Stokes Road for about 4.4 miles to the intersection with Belcher Road. Turn west (left) onto Belcher Road and go about 1 mile to the beginning of state land.

  • Trailhead and pull-off area for the unnamed snowmobile trail (43.366306°N, 75.531920°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of West Branch State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

Mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and horseback riding are all permitted on the property; however, there are no currently maintained trails for these activities.

How We Manage West Branch State Forest

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Oneida Hills Unit Management Plan (UMP). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

West Branch State Forest's terrain features rolling woodlands that contain a mixture of plantations, natural forests and wetlands. The plantations on the property are primarily composed of white pine, red pine, Japanese larch, Scotch pine, European larch, Norway spruce, red oak and white cedar. The natural forest species on the property include hemlock, black cherry, red maple, white pine and American beech. In the lowland areas on the property there are Alder Swamps that are home to many different flora and fauna that rely on the nutrient rich soils and abundant water.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us information.r6@dec.ny.gov.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Information regarding where to find amenities:

  • Gas, dining opportunities, lodging, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Stokes, Taberg and Rome.

Oneida County Tourism webpage (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.