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Donahue Woods State Forest

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Donahue Woods State Forest locator map

Donahue Woods State Forest encompasses 1,165 acres in Northeastern Cortland County. Rustic and rugged, it's great for recreational activities such as hunting, bird watching, nature viewing, informal hiking and snowmobiling.

The forest has a Public Forest Access Road running through it which provides 2.0 miles of recreational access through the middle of the forest. This can be used for hiking. There are no formal hiking trails on this property but hiking is allowed anywhere unless posted otherwise.


primitive campingGeneral 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.


fishingGeneral 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.

Hunting & Trapping

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


snowmobilingGeneral information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

There are four miles of designated snowmobile trails within the forest. These trails are part of corridor trail 5 and 5G and secondary trail 58C as designated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (leaves DEC website).


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


Donahue Woods State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 13 toward Truxton, NY, and turning onto Youngs Crossing. Head south on Youngs Crossing about .2 miles to East River Road. Turn left onto East River Road and travel northeast about 2 miles to Maybury Road. Head south on Maybury Road about 2 miles to Bell Road. Head east on Bell Road about 1.5 miles to the Donahue Woods Public Forest Access Road which runs the entire length of the forest in a north south direction. Parking is available, but limited, from the shoulder of the road.

Bell Road (42.6605501°N, 76.0309542°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 Donahue Woods 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 Donahue Woods State Forest

Donahue Woods 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. If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us

The cover types within Donahue State Forest are similar to other compositions in the region, which include northern hardwood, northern hardwood-hemlock, Norway spruce, red pine, white spruce and white cedar.


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

Donahue Woods was acquired by the state during the 1930s as part of the Roosevelt Administration's plan to counteract the effects of the Great Depression. The land had originally been used for agricultural purposes, which proved unsuccessful due to the poor quality of the soil and short growing seasons. The State Reforestation Act and the Hewitt Amendment, and later the Environmental Bond Act, provided a means for abandoned farm land to once again become productive under the management of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Today, Donahue Woods State Forest provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for many residents and visitors of Central New York.

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Cortland County Tourism Office (leaves DEC website)

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.