Cuyler Hill State Forest
- Primitive Camping
- Nature Photography/Observation
Cuyler Hill State Forest encompasses 5,507 acres and is located in the towns of Cuyler and Taylor on the Northeastern border of Cortland and Chenango County. It is a popular area for activities such as hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, fishing, camping, bird watching and nature viewing. Cuyler Hill State Forest currently has 8.5 miles of the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail, part of which runs through the 20 acre Cuyler Hill Natural Area. Approximately 12.5 miles of snowmobile trails cross the forest that are part of the New York State Corridor Trails 5C and 7A which provide snowmobile access between DeRuyter and Pitcher. It uses both town roads and public forest access roads.
The clear freshwater streams, of which there are fifteen, wind graciously through the trees totaling seven miles in length. Brook trout abound in most of them. Some of the sections of streams in the forest include Bundy Creek, Union Valley Creek, and Wells Creek, which are a part of the East Branch of the Tioughnioga and Ostelic River watersheds.
Under the Environmental Conservation Law Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, the Department of Environmental Conservation has been given authorization to manage lands acquired outside of 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.
New York State purchased most of the land that is now called Cuyler State Forest between 1933 and 1965, with a recent addition purchased in 1991. During the 1930's, programs initiated by the Roosevelt Administration were an attempt to create new jobs and counteract the effects of the Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked diligently on a massive tree planting campaign to combat serious soil erosion that resulted from poor agricultural practices in the past. CCC Camp S-118 was established in Truxton and planted more than 1,488,500 trees in Cuyler Hill State Forest. In addition, the DeRuyter CCC Camp S-103 planted more than 1,001,200 trees, and the Conservation Department added another 542,500 tree saplings. A total of just over 3 million trees were planted in the forest between 1936 and 1979. As a result of the hard work of hundreds of young men, the forest now provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services to residents and visitors of New York.
Cuyler Hill contains a wide variety of forest cover types, including northern hardwood, northern hardwood-hemlock, European and Japanese larch, Norway spruce, red pine, white cedar, and white spruce. The elevation of the forest ranges from 1,245 to 2,080 feet, and is a fantastic place to see ruffed grouse, rabbits, white tail deer, different song birds and a wide variety of small mammals. A section of the forest was established as a natural area in 1969 by Regional Forester Al Roberts to preserve the natural landscape. Cuyler Hill Natural Area now covers approximately 20 acres and will forever remain an area where no trees will be cut.
Cuyler Hill State Forest is part of the Cuyler Hill 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.
Cuyler Hill State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 13 to Cheningo Road. Follow Cheningo Road South about 4.7 miles, then turn left (east) on to Cheningo Solon Pond Road. Head east about 3.6 miles until Cuyler Hill Road and turn left (northeast). Travel northeast about 1.2 miles and turn east onto Randell Hill Road. Follow Randell Hill about 2.2 miles until you reach the Cuyler Hill Public Forest Access Road, which runs the entirety of the forest in a north-south direction. Parking is available but limited from the shoulder of the road.
State Forest Regulations
For your safety and protection of the resource, the following regulations are in place:
- 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