Wassaic Multiple Use Area
This 488 acre multiple use area crosses Route 22 in the town of Amenia. A facility identification sign is located on the east side of Route 22. Follow the road along the field to the parking area near the 10 Mile River, or take Tower Hill Road on the west side of Route 22 to the other parking lot on the right hand side. Tower Hill Road can be narrow and twisty. Please proceed slowly and carefully. There are no official trails on this property, although there is an old logging road on the Tower Hill side. Gravel has been mined from this area near the fields.
Forest Land Management:
The forests of this multiple use area (MUA) 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.
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 Wassaic MUA, 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.
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 multiple use area 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