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Baker School House State Forest

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Baker School House State Forest locator map

Baker School House State Forest encompasses 1,277 acres. Its primitive nature makes it ideal for activities such as hiking, hunting, trapping, bird watching, nature observation, and informal camping. The Finger Lakes Trail (leaves DEC website) winds through the central portion of the forest

Featured Activities



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

Baker School House State Forest has a two-mile section of the Finger Lakes Trail System running through it. A 1.8 mile Public Forest Access Road provides an easy avenue of approach into the northern section of the forest. There are currently no other designated trails within the forest


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.



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

Fishing Access information is available. Fishing Easement information is available.

Wooded area in Baker School House State Forest

Hunting & Trapping


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

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross country skiing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.


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


Baker School House State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 41 to Baker School House Road which runs diagonally through the forest. Parking is limited, but available from the shoulder of the road. (42.57451°N, 76.01477°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles 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 Baker School House 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.

How We Manage Baker School House State Forest

Baker School House State Forest is part of the Taylor Valley 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.

With its wide variety of cover types, including northern hardwood, European and Japanese larch, Norway spruce, red pine and white cedar, Baker School House State Forest provides many different habitats for a collection of wildlife. It is a great place to see wild turkey, white-tailed deer and a variety of song birds. The forest's wild and rustic character provides excellent hunting and trapping opportunities.


Under Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law, authorization has been given to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) 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.

Most of the land that is now called Baker School House State Forest was originally used for agricultural practices in the 1800s. However, the upland soils of the Allegheny Plateau are thin, relatively steep, and acidic. As such, the ground is not fit for intensive farming. When combined with harsh winters and a short growing season, it is easy to understand why farmers abandoned these lands in pursuit of greener pastures in the Midwest. Therefore, the land was sold to the state in the 1930s to undergo reforestation. Today, DEC foresters manage the forest to provide diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for all New Yorkers and visitors.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us info.r7@dec.ny.gov

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby community of Cortland.

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.