Andersen Hill State Forest
Andersen Hill State Forest (Tioga #4) encompasses 554 acres of forested land in the town of Richford in Northern Tioga County. While it may be somewhat small, it is still a great place to visit if you're looking for natural beauty and an opportunity to explore managed upland forests of New York State's Allegheny Plateau.
Cleared for pasture and cropland by European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans, the land that is now Andersen Hill State Forest offered limited reward for most farming attempts. The upland soils of the Allegheny Plateau are characteristically thin, steep and acidic. When combined with harsh winters and short growing seasons, the land proved unproductive. High elevation farms were abandoned, as settlement was attempted elsewhere. The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 set forth new legislation that authorized the Conservation Department to acquire land, by gift or purchase, for reforestation areas. These State Forests, consisting of not less than 500 acres of contiguous land, were to be "forever devoted to reforestation and the establishment and maintenance thereon of forests for watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, recreation and kindred purposes" (Article 9, Title 5, Environmental Conservation Law).
The majority of Andersen Hill State Forest was purchased under this program between 1938 and 1942, with three smaller additions being made in 1962, 1975 and 2009. According to Department records, the Slaterville Springs Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp S-125 hand planted more than 61,000 tree seedlings between 1939 and 1940. In 1954 and 1963, New York State Conservation Department employees planted an additional 111,000 seedlings using a tractor and spade. In total, approximately 85% of the tree seedlings were softwood species, with Norway spruce, Red Pine and White Spruce being the most frequently planted species representing over sixty percent of the seedlings planted.
Andersen Hill State Forest provides excellent habitats for many different species of plants and animals. Birds, amphibians, and mammals such as the Acadian flycatcher, American woodcock, Cerulean warbler, scarlet tanager, turkey, northern saw-whet owl, wood thrush, ruffed grouse, spotted salamander, grey tree frog, white tailed deer, gray squirrel, red squirrel, chipmunk and little brown bat call the forest home. Ferns, wildflowers, club mosses, fungi and a new generation of trees grow in patches of light on the forest floor, while song birds and raptors fly in the sky above.
Rustic and undeveloped, Andersen Hill is great for activities such as hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, and snowmobiling. The forest has a marked snowmobile trail about 0.5 miles in length that is maintained by an Adopt-A-Natural-Resource (AANR) partner. The trail connects to a larger trail network.
Interior access to the State Forest is provided by a 1.6 mile seasonal public forest access road. Additionally, a cooperative fishing access site developed by the DEC and the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District provides excellent public access to the West Branch of Owego Creek. The public fishing access site is located on the west side of West Creek Road, about four tenths of a mile south of NY Route 79. DEC Bureau of Fisheries staff stock the West Branch with over 5,000 brown trout annually.
Land management actions on the state forest are guided by the Tri-County Uplands Unit Management Plan. A copy of the management plan is on the Department's web page. Andersen Hill State Forest lands are managed to provide a mix of young (early successional), middle-aged (mid-successional) and old (late successional) forest habitats. Forest managers apply ecosystem management principles to conserve, protect, enhance and sustain the many values and services that state land provides to the public.
***Stay Safe- Bring A Friend When Out On The Trails***
From Ithaca, New York: Take NY 79 east toward the Tioga County hamlet of Richford for about 15 miles, then turn south on West Creek Road for 2/10 of mile and make a left turn onto Andersen Hill Rd. Follow Andersen Hill road for 1.5 miles; the Andersen Hill State Forest public access road will be on your left.
From Richford, New York: Take NY 38 south for about 3/4 of a mile to Andersen Hill Road. Make a right turn and head west on Andersen Hill Rd. for about 1.8 miles; the Andersen Hill State Forest public access road will be on your right.
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 8am-4 pm): 607-753-3095 ext. 217
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies):607-798-1797
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850