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Beaver Dam State Forest

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Beaver Dam State Forest locator map

Recreational Activities

  • Accessible Trail
  • Primitive Camping
  • Fishing
  • Informal Hiking (no trails)
  • Hunting, Wildlife Management Unit 7R
  • Nature Photography/Observation
  • Snowmobiling
  • Trapping

Background Information

Beaver Dam State Forest encompasses 1,148 acres and is located in the town of Richford on the border of northern Tioga and Broome County. It is a popular area for recreational activities that can be enjoyed in a forest setting, such as hunting, informal hiking (no trail), snowmobiling, bird watching, nature viewing and fishing from the small brook.

Beaver Dam State Forest has 1.8 miles of formal snowmobile trails running through its boundaries. The snowmobile trails are maintained by DEC Volunteer Stewardship Program volunteers. The 1.5 mile Public Forest Access Road, which is accessible from Sears Rd., can be traveled by bike, horse, or foot. A .6 mile trail is open for ATV use for individuals holding a Department permit for mobility impaired disabilities. At this time, there are no plans to create additional formal recreational trail networks.

Primitive and wild, Beaver Dam State Forest is home to a variety of habitats that foster a diversity of plant and animal life. As the name suggests, beavers are frequently seen along the small brook that winds through the woods. In addition to the beavers, a wide variety of song birds, amphibians such as salamanders, deer, red and gray squirrels and rabbits can be seen by the patient nature observer.


Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to provide for the management of lands acquired outside the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Management is defined as watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, recreation and kindred purposes.

Most of the land encompassing what is today known as Beaver Dam State Forest was purchased between 1939 and 1942. Prior to this point, the land had been cleared of the natural vegetation and used for agriculture by early European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. However, because the soils common in the area are typically thin, somewhat steep and acidic, they are not fit for intensive farming. Harsh winters and short growing seasons further compounded the issue and provoked many farmers to abandon their properties in pursuit of more suitable land in the Midwest. Fortunately, the State Reforestation Act of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment made it possible for the abandoned farmland to become productive once more through the planting of trees. Hundreds of young men found work, and the fruits of their labor is made evident by the forested landscape that now covers the land. Today, Beaver Dam State Forest provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for the people of New York State.

Field Notes

beaver dam state forest in tioga county in region 7

The forest's dense cover is generously provided by the protective limbs of northern hardwoods, red pines, Norway spruce and oaks. Wild flowers, mosses, ferns and berries can all be found on the forest floor.

Beaver Dam State Forest is part of the Rockefeller Unit Management Plan., which is currently being written by DEC staff. A Unit Management Plan (UMP) guides the DEC's land management activities on several geographically related forests for a ten-year period, although a number of goals and objectives in the plan focus on a much longer time period. Each UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use and forest management.


From I-81 Take exit # 8 toward NY RT 79 West. Travel west on NY RT 79 for about 9 miles until you reach Michigan Hill Road and take a right (if you reach the hamlet of Richford you've gone too far). Head north on Michigan Hill Road for about 3/4 of a mile, then make a right on Sears Road. Follow Sears Rd. for about 3/4 of a mile- the entrance to the Public Forest Access Road will be on your right.

State Forest Regulations

Anyone enjoying the use of this State Forest must observe the following rules which protect them and the forest:

  1. Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying of refuse is prohibited.
  2. If you build a fire, do so with care and use wood from dead and downed trees only. Never leave a fire unattended. Three foot radius must be cleared around fire.
  3. All motorized vehicles are restricted to access roads posted as motor vehicle trails. Off road use of motorized vehicles, such as, trail bikes and four-wheel drives is not allowed, except where specifically permitted by signs, posted notice or by DEC Permit.
  4. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of water, roads or trail.
  5. Permanent structures, including tree stands or blinds, are not allowed.

Important Numbers:

State Forest Office ( M-F 8 am- 4 pm): 607- 753 -3095 x 217
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies): 607-798-1797
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850
Emergencies: 911