Frozen Ocean State Forest
Frozen Ocean State Forest (Cayuga #3) encompasses 754 acres of land in the town of Niles in Southeastern Cayuga County. Situated on one of the highest points in the county, Frozen Ocean is well known for receiving more than its fair share of freezing winds in the winter.
Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law authorize the Department of Environmental Conservation to manage lands acquired outside the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Management, as defined by these laws, includes watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, recreation and kindred purposes.
The majority of the land in Frozen Ocean State Forest was acquired by the state in purchases made during the 1930's, but also as recently as the 1990's. The name is said to have originated from the fact that during the winter season, extremely cold winds sweep across the land turning the woods into endless stretches of frozen forest, the way that the ocean stretches endlessly across the horizon seemingly frozen in time.
Frozen Ocean has many great recreational opportunities, regardless of the time of year one visits. (Although only the brave venture out in the winter!) Hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, trapping, and of course nature viewing are all perfect activities to enjoy in the forest. However, users who do enjoy the forest in the winter season are reminded that access is limited to foot and ski only due to the limited availability of plowed roads.
The forest's protective cover types, including northern hardwood, hemlock, European and Japanese larch, Norway spruce, red pine and white spruce, provide a wide range of diverse habitats that allow for many species to call this area "home." The forest's primitive nature provides excellent hunting and trapping opportunities, as well as true "roughing it" camping experiences.
Two ponds glisten in the woods creating not only a visual relief from the endless stretches of trees, but also a wonderful environment in which to cast a line. They attract much of the local wildlife, and there are usually plenty of beautiful plants and wildflowers to please any nature observer's eye.
Frozen Ocean State Forest is part of the Hewitt-Cayuga Highlands Unit Management Plan. 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. A copy of the plan is available in the Lands and Forests Office in Cortland.
Frozen Ocean State Forest has several trails designated for the public's enjoyment including a foot/hiking trail and a cross-country ski trail. A trail exists from Quarry Road that runs east for about 1/4 mile to an 11 acre pond. There is also a foot trail leading west to a scenic 16 acre pond. The DEC advises users to be sure to stay on the designated trails where possible and wear protective clothing as a few occurrences of poison ivy have been reported.
***Stay Safe- Bring A Friend When Out In The Forest***
Frozen Ocean State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 38A to Twelve Corners Road and then turn left onto Grange Hall Road. Travel for about 0.3 miles and then turn left onto Corrigan Road. Travel about 0.8 miles on Corrigan Road to the beginning of the forest. There is also access to the forest by continuing on Grange Hall Road and turning left onto Quarry Road.
- Pass only in flat areas. The faster trail user should verbally indicate a desire to pass. The slower user should yield by moving to the right where possible.
- Users going down hill have the right of way as they are typically moving faster and may have less control.
- After a fall, move off the trail as quickly as possible to minimize the risk of collisions.
- When skiing, fill in the sitzmarks before proceeding after a fall.
- Do not hike in the ski tracks, or when there is snow on the ground.
State Forest Regulations
Anyone enjoying the use of this State Forest must observe the following rules which protect them and the forest environment:
- Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying of refuse is prohibited.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Permanent structures, including tree stands or blinds, are not allowed.
State Forest Office (M-F 8 am- 4 pm): 607-753 -3095 ext. 217
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies): 607-283-1159
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850