Gee Brook State Forest
- Primitive Camping
- Camping, Formal Sites (permit required from Forest Ranger)
- Informal Hiking
- Nature Observation/Photography
Gee Brook State Forest encompasses 878 acres and is located in the town of Cincinnatus in Southeastern Cortland County. It is a small but popular area that offers a variety of recreational activities including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, bird watching, nature viewing and snowmobiling.
Gee Brook State Forest used to be a very popular formal camping area. The access bridge leading to Calico Pond over Gee Brook no longer provides vehicular access, although it is maintained as a foot bridge. An informational map of the camping area and its three camping sites is available.
Gee Brook is named for the beautiful sparkling creek that gently flows through the peaceful forest. Its culmination point, Calico Pond, provides six acres of fishing opportunities and is loaded with pickerel, largemouth bass, perch, and of course Calico bass, for which the pond is named. Camping is allowed at Calico Pond at designated sites, by permit only. Permits are available through the forest ranger or the Cortland DEC office, call 607-674-4017.
There is a short snowmobile trail located on the south end of the forest. Informal foot trails are located along the stream and ponds. There are also two Public Forest Access Roads (Ace of Spades Rd. and Calico Pond Rd.) that provide entry into each of the respective north and south portions of the property.
Nature observers and hunters can also enjoy the many species of plants and animals throughout this heavily forested area.
Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law authorizes 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.
Like many of the state forests, Gee Brook was originally cleared for agricultural purposes by early European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. When the soil proved to be unfit for farming, the land was abandoned and sold to the state for reforestation in the 1930's.
The forest still provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for many, and informal camping continues to be enjoyed within the forest. DEC foresters are charged with the responsibility of managing State Forests to enhance and maintain a diverse and healthy forest ecosystem for society and wildlife. It is the hope of the Department that the beauty of the forest, as well as its many services, will continue to be enjoyed for many generations.
Gee Brook 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.
Gee Brook State Forest is divided into two main sections. The northern section may be accessed by taking NY Route 41 to Piety Road; the Calico Pond Public Forest Access Road is directly across from the intersection, and parking is available, but limited to the shoulder of the road. The southern section can be accessed by taking NY Route 41 to Gee Brook Road, and then Gee Brook Road to the Ace of Spades Public Forest Access Road. Again, parking is limited, but available along the shoulder of the road.
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 at Calico Pond requires a permit from the forest ranger or the DEC Cortland office. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more also 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