Griggs Gulf State Forest
Griggs Gulf State Forest (Cortland #11) encompasses 2, 365 acres of land in the towns of Harford and Richford, located in Southwestern Cortland County and Northeastern Tioga County. Recreational activities such as snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, trapping, nature observation and informal hiking and horseback riding are enjoyed by many residents and visitors of the area.
Griggs Gulf State Forest, like many of New York's State Forests, was once cleared and farmed by European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. Unfortunately, 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. In order to reduce soil erosion, protect water quality, provide forest products and create recreational opportunities, the State of New York began acquiring property designated for reforestation during the 1930's. As a result, the once barren lands were transformed into forests, and today they provide diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for New York residents and visitors.
Griggs Gulf State Forest is a peaceful and primitive place with much to offer for the person seeking solace from the noise of daily life. The landscape is forested with northern hardwoods, Norway spruce, red pine and upland oak. It provides excellent habitat for many woodland creatures and plants.
DEC foresters are charged with the responsibility of managing State Forests to enhance, conserve, and maintain a diverse and healthy forest ecosystem for society and wildlife. Forest management is therefore strategically employed to develop a balanced mix of young, middle-aged, and old (late successional) forest types in order to provide habitat for plants and animals, as well as recreational opportunities for people.
Of special interest, John D. Rockefeller, of the former Standard Oil Company, was born in the town of Richford. The foundation of his childhood home is located adjacent to Rockefeller Road on land that is now part of Griggs Gulf State Forest, and is marked by a sign which designates the historical site. Other remnants from times past lay hidden amongst the trees, such as a cistern used by early farmers (see picture) and a small Civilian Conservation Corps. pond built for early firefighting. This state forest is truly full of surprises that will certainly enrich the lives of all who visit.
Within the boundaries of Griggs Gulf State Forest, there are currently an estimated 2.7 miles of formal snowmobile trails. The Public Forest Access Roads also provide recreational opportunities on a seasonal basis.
***Stay Safe- Bring A Friend When Out on the Trails***
Griggs Gulf State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 38 to the hamlet of Harford Mills; then take Route 200 to Griggs Gulf Road. There is also access to the forest by taking Griggs Gulf Road to Michigan Hill Road, then turning onto Rockefeller Road. Parking is available from either access point on 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 wheat 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