West Mountain State Forest
West Mountain State Forest was acquired in 1999 as a gift to the State of New York. Consisting of 830 acres in the towns of Beekman and Dover, this area has rolling topography, wetlands and streams. Although no formal trails have been marked out, there are many informal trails, a good topographic map or GPS unit would be helpful. The pond near the center of the state forest is currently only foot traffic accessible, the road to it is privately owned and there is no public access.
Parking areas can be found at the very end of Garner Hollow Road, past the facility identification sign, and at the end of the cul-de-sac on Blueberry Drive, walk to the right and find the old farm lane, follow it in to the state forest.
Forest Land Management:
The forests of this multiple use area are managed to produce forest crops, maintain diverse wildlife habitats, and provide recreational opportunities while protecting aesthetics and water quality. A state forester's main tool in accomplishing these objectives is careful harvesting of trees.
Users of the trail system may observe forest management practices which may at times disrupt trail use. Planning for multiple uses of the forest lands considers all disruptive impacts.
State Forest Regulations:
Anyone enjoying this state forest must observe these rules which protect both them and the forest environment.
DEC appreciates public assistance. Volunteer projects will be considered if consistent with management policy and legal constraints. Volunteer projects are always subject to DEC supervision.
State Forest Office (M-F 7am-3pm): 845-831-8780 x309
Forest Ranger Dispatch: 845-256-3013
Timber stands are classified as either conifer plantations, meaning they were planted, or natural hardwoods, meaning they regenerate without human assistance. Stands of introduced pine, spruce or larch are planted in old farm fields, because they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. Such stands usually grow for about 80 to 100 years depending on species and soil conditions. They are usually managed by a series of partial thinnings. These thinnings provide sunlight openings in the canopy to encourage natural regeneration of native hardwoods. Removal of the conifer overstory in a final harvest allows hardwood seedlings to grow to maturity. There may be areas where the stand could be replanted with conifers if certain conditions exist.
Hardwood trees are not usually planted, as they spread vast amounts of seed and thereby naturally regenerate. Periodic thinning of hardwood forest stands through the sale of forest products gives the residual trees more growing space. This helps keep the forest healthy and provides openings for new seedlings, which in turn provide a revolving supply of food and cover for wildlife and are a source of future crop trees.
Hardwood stands are managed in either of two silvicultural styles, uneven aged or even aged. With uneven aged management, trees of all sizes and ages are maintained at all times throughout the stands, which will generally contain large trees giving an illusion of old growth. At West Mountain State Forest, the hardwood stands were harvested just prior to state ownership. With even aged management, all of the hardwood trees within the stand are maintained at about the same age.