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Maxon Creek State Forest

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Maxon Creek State Forest

Recreational Activities

  • Informal Camping
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Hunting, Wildlife Management Unit 7M
  • Nature Photography and Observation
  • Trapping

Background Information

Maxon Creek State Forest, sometimes referred to as Pease Hill, encompasses 908 acres and is located in the town of Cuyler in northeastern Cortland County. Maxon Creek State Forest offers an estimated 1.8 miles of hiking trail which is part of the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail system. The primitive setting provides excellent opportunities to experience the joys of nature. It is a perfect place to enjoy hunting, nature viewing, and bird watching within a wild and rustic setting.

The forest is also home to four small streams, which altogether total 2.4 miles in length and are a part of the East Branch of the Tioughnioga River Watershed.


Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation 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.

The land where Maxon Creek State Forest is located was originally cleared and farmed by European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. 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. Most of the land was purchased by the state for reforestation between 1933 and 1963, with an additional purchase made in 1974.

The Truxton Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp S-118 hand planted over 222,350 trees in the area between 1936 and 1941. An additional 295,800 trees were planted by the DeRuyter CCC in 1935, and the Department of Environmental Conservation planted more than 18,000 trees in 1962. The planting of trees under the State Reforestation Act and Hewitt Amendment provided new jobs for hundreds of young men, and the future forests would yield products and services that would benefit both wildlife and society for generations to come.

Field Notes

Small stream in Maxon Creek

A variety of different cover types envelop the land, including northern hardwoods, northern hardwood-hemlock, Japanese larch, Norway spruce, red pine and white cedar. Within this secluded forest setting, one can find a diverse collection of wildlife and plant species.

Maxon Creek 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.


Maxon Creek State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 13 to Crains Mills Road. Head south about 0.4 miles until Pease Hill Road. Travel southeast on Pease Hill Road for about 1.0 mile into Maxon Creek State Forest, then proceed about 0.6 miles further to the Maxon Creek Public Forest Access Road; this is a dead end road that runs westward for 1 mile. Parking is available from the shoulder of the road, however, it is limited.

State Forest Regulations

Anyone enjoying the use of this State Forest must observe the following rules which protect them and the forest environment:

  1. Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying of refuse is prohibited.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Permanent structures, including tree stands or blinds, are not allowed.

Important Numbers:

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

Emergencies: 911