Ketchumville State Forest
- Primitive Camping
- Hiking, Informal (no trails)
- Nature Photography/Observation
Ketchumville State Forest encompasses 500 acres of land in the town of Newark Valley in the northeastern portion of Tioga County. Its rustic and primitive feel makes it ideal for recreational activities such as hunting, informal hiking (no trails), snowshoeing, bird watching, and nature viewing. Ketchumville State Forest is undeveloped and has no formally marked trails. Former logging trails, the public forest access road, and old town roads provide informal hiking opportunities. As such, this forest offers unique opportunities to those who wish to explore on their own. At this time, there are no plans being discussed to create additional formal trail networks.
Wildlife and Plants
Because of the diverse range of habitats available within the forest, there is an abundance of both plant and animal life. Deer, raccoons, rabbits, foxes, salamanders and squirrels are just some of the creatures that can be found by the keen-eyed observer. Birds of all sorts can also be viewed, from the Chestnut-sided Warbler to the Cooper's hawk to the wild Turkey.
Many different plant species, both common and rare, can be found mingling with the other flora, including Painted Trillium, Orange Hawkweed (also known as devil's paintbrush), and even Wild Hydrangea. Don't forget, although they are beautiful, the plants located on state property are protected; it is illegal to pick or transport them for any reason.
Ketchumville State Forest was purchased in 1941 by the State of New York from lands formerly owned by the Waite, Zimmer, Chamberlain, Bailey, and Andrews families. This area was not reforested until 1961, when more than 153,000 tree seedlings were planted. The delay in reforesting this property is due to the fact that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camps and their programs were terminated as the United States entered World War II. Following the war, tree planting was resumed at a much slower rate.
Ketchumville State Forest, like many of New York's State Forests, 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 for more fertile lands 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 significant numbers of trees in order to reforest the land.
Existing evidence of the early settlers and the original inhabitants still remains, as stone walls, foundations, scattered quarries and even portions of the original road system can be found at Ketchumville State Forest. Even vegetative remnants of the old homesteads still exist as evidenced by the fruit trees and introduced ground cover and flowers (keep an eye out for creeping myrtle and day lilies). Today, with the land being transformed back to its original forested state, diverse ecological, economic, and recreational opportunities are provided for all the many residents and visitors of New York State each year.
Ketchumville State Forest has much to offer for the person seeking solace from the noise of modern society. Being located within the Central Appalachians ecological subzone, this forest is characterized by oaks on southern slopes, mixtures of hardwoods, and hemlock in the ravines.
A small stream runs wild through the woods reaching a particularly beautiful site surrounded by large hemlocks. Ketchumville 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.
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 to provide habitat for plants and animals, and recreational opportunities for people. Target shooting is prohibited on this state forest.
From Newark Valley, New York: Head north on NY Route 38 for 3/4 (.75) of a mile. Take a right on Wilson Creek Road and stay straight; the road then becomes Davis Hollow Road. Head east on Davis Hollow Road for about 1 mile and bear slightly to the right onto Bailey Hollow Road. Travel southeast on Bailey Hollow Road for about 1 3/4 (1.75) miles until it intersects with Smokey Zimmer Road. Make a left and continue northeast on Bailey Hollow Road for about ½ (.5) mile. The Ketchumville State Forest sign and public forest access road will be on the left near the crest of the hill. Parking is available on the shoulders and at the end of the public forest access 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 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): 607-798-1797
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850