Fairfield State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 7 Cortland Office: (607) 753-3095 M-F 8 am- 4 pm, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Town of Candor, Tioga County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 7R
- Map: View Fairfield State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (268 Kb) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Fairfield State Forest encompasses 815 acres of land. It offers opportunities for recreational activities that are best enjoyed in remote, relatively undisturbed natural forest areas such as hunting, trapping, primitive camping, and snowmobiling. Additional access is provided by a 2.0 mile public forest access road and by Jenksville Hill Road, a seasonal town road (not plowed) that cuts through the forest. There are no formal hiking trails but hiking is allowed anywhere on the property unless posted otherwise.
An abundance of plant life also flourishes within the woods, such as tree clubmoss, painted trillium, and Christmas fern. Interesting plants such as the pink lady's slipper and blue cohosh can be found on the forest. Please don't pick the plants; they are protected by the Environmental Conservation Law. Target shooting is prohibited on this state forest.
General 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.
General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations.
Hunting & Trapping
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
Fairfield State Forest offers approximately 1.6 miles of formal snowmobile trails.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted anywhere on the property unless posted otherwise.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
The forest contains a wide variety of habitats which support a moderate diversity of wildlife species including mammals, reptiles, amphibians such as the Allegheny dusky salamander, and birds including at least twelve species of warblers. Many game species, such as deer, turkey, grouse, raccoon, mink and fox are also quite common.
From Ithaca: Take NY Route 79 southeast for about 14 miles; at West Creek Road make a right turn and travel south for about 4 miles, then bear right into the hamlet of Speedsville. At the corner of Old Route 76 (in Speedsville), make a left and continue south on West Creek Road for about 1 mile; make a right on Legge Hill Road and travel southwest (uphill) for about 1 ½ (1.5) miles. Stay straight and the road intersects Lathrop Road (a farmhouse and barn is at the intersection). The entrance to Fairfield State Forest Public Access Road is on the left about 1/3 (0.3) of a mile south from the intersection of Legge Hill Road and Lathrop Road. Parking is available from the shoulder of the road.
From Interstate 81: Take exit 8 at Whitney Point and travel west on NY Route 79 for about 15 miles (you will pass the hamlet of Richford and NY Route 38). Stay straight on NY Route 79 and proceed to West Creek Road; make a left turn a follow the directions above. Parking is available from the shoulder of the road.
Jenksville Hill Road (42.2712875°N, 76.2673026°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 Fairfield 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.
Target shooting is prohibited on this state forest.
How We Manage Fairfield State Forest
Fairfield State Forest lies within the Central Appalachians ecological subzone, characterized by oaks on southern slopes, mixtures of hardwoods, and hemlock in the ravines. Fairfield State Forest is part of the Tioga 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 email@example.com.
The land that is now known as Fairfield State Forest was sold to the State of New York between the years 1932 and 1940, with an additional purchase in 1962. Like many of New York's State Forests, the land had originally been cleared and farmed by European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. Unfortunately, the soils common in the area are 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 quite understandable that 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 recreational opportunities, the State of New York started acquiring property during the 1930's and planted many trees on it.
The Department of Environmental Conservation, under Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law, has been given authorization 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. More than 434,000 tree seedlings were hand planted at Fairfield State Forest by the Cornell Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp in 1934. In 1938, the Slaterville Springs CCC Camp S-125 hand planted 30,750 more trees. The Conservation Department planted an additional 18,700 more seedlings in 1963 using only a tractor and spade. Thus, the land that encompasses what is now known as Fairfield State Forest has been restored to forest and today provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services.
Nearby Amenities and Attractions
Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby community of Ithaca.
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.