Goundry Hill State Forest
Goundry Hill State Forest is located about 9 miles north of Coopers Plains, near the hamlets of Bradford and Monterey, in the Allegheny Plateau. It covers approximately 2,112 acres in the town of Orange in Schuyler County.
Six Nations Trail System
Among its many attractions is the multiple use Six Nations Recreation Trail System, just shy of 40 miles long. The majority of the trail system is located on Sugar Hill State Forest. It is open for horse use in the summer months, and snowmobile use when there is sufficient snow cover. Foot travel is encouraged all year round.
The main trail head for the system is the Sugar Hill Fire Tower and Recreation Area. Located near the north end of the Sugar Hill State Forest, off of Tower Hill Rd. The trails and Goundry Hill State Forest are open for use, but due to funding reductions, the trails and DEC roads on this and other state forests, will receive minimum or no maintenance.
People may access Oneida Trail from Corbett Hollow Rd., Guerin Rd or Goundry Hill Rd. At the end of Corbett Hollow Rd. is a turn around loop, with a wide area for parking or camping. Water is available from a nearby stream, but is not potable so it must be treated before drinking. There are no other facilities provided. Guerin Rd. has a parking area about a half mile from Goundry Hill Rd; it holds about 10 cars. It is then a short walk north or south on the road to the trail.
Maps to the Trail System
View of Corbett Hollow on Goundry Hill
The brochure of the trail system can be found in the kiosks located at the on Sugar Hill State Forest one at the Fire Tower Recreation Area, the other at the parking lot on the south end of Evergreen Hill Rd, from the Bath DEC office, or by printing this pdf of the Six Nations Recreation Trail System brochure. It is 11 inches by 17 inches, double sided, and 2.1 Mb in size. Additional maps may be found on the Sugar Hill State Forest or Six Nation Trail System web pages or create your own with the State Recreational Lands Interactive Mapper.
The only ATV trails that exist are for persons with disabilities - pursuant to DEC Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD). Individuals with qualifying disabilities may apply for a permit to operate an ATV on trails designated by the DEC. A permit must first be obtained from the DEC. Trails are open for walking at any time. One of these trails heads south from the parking lot on Guerin Rd., passes the gas well pad and continues onto a point of land with several scenic vistas of Meads Creek Valley.
Full listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations.
Also located on the area is a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail (foot traffic only). In 1972 construction of the Finger Lakes Trail was authorized on Goundry Hill State Forest. Maintenance has been continued by the volunteers of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference under the Adopt-A-Natural-Resource Program. In 1992 it was designated as a segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail, a 3200-mile trail which extends from New York to North Dakota.
Town and county roads provide mountain biking opportunities.
Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted. Traps may not be set on public road right of ways. Body gripping traps set on land must be at least 100 feet from public trails. Permanent tree stands are prohibited. However, a tree stand or blind is allowed, provided that it does not injure any trees, is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season, but no more than thirty days in one location per calendar year.
Geo-caching is allowed although caches must be marked with the owner's contact information and may not be placed in dangerous or ecologically sensitive locations.
State Forest Regulations
Anyone enjoying this property must observe the following rules which protect both 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. All fires must be extinguished with water, and the coals must be raked until cool to the touch.
- Do not bring firewood from home because this may also transport dangerous invasive pests to the state forest.
- Unauthorized cutting of live trees or new trail building is prohibited.
- Camping for more than three consecutive nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a DEC Forest Ranger.
- Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water except at camping areas designated by the department.
- Human waste should be buried in a shallow hole 4-6 inches deep, and at least 150 feet from water, trails, and campsites. Cover with leaf litter and dirt.
- Motorized vehicles are permitted only on access roads posted as open to motor vehicles. Off road use of motorized vehicles is prohibited, except where specifically permitted by signs, posted notice or by DEC permit.
- No permanent structures should be established, including tree stands or blinds.
- ATV and UTV use is generally prohibited on State Forests.
- Individuals with disabilities can apply for a Motorized Access Permit (MAPPWD) to use a motor vehicle on designated roads.
- Horses must have Negative Coggins Test. Do not tether horses to live trees.
This area was settled beginning in approximately 1802. As noted in numerous other state forest descriptions, agricultural abandonment occurred relatively early, (1910-1929) on the hilltop lands occupied by this state forest.
The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 set forth the legislation which authorized the Conservation Department to acquire land by gift or purchase for reforestation purposes. 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 for recreation and kindred purposes". This broad program is presently authorized under Article 9, Title 5, of the NYS Environmental Conservation Law.
This is the first state forest of Schuyler County, starting with proposals A, B and C that were acquired in 1932, under the 1929 State Reforestation Law. Proposal A was about 147 acres; B was about 236 acres; and C about 126 acres, for a total of 509 acres, just above the 500 acre minimum. All were purchased for $4 per acre. Additional acres were added under the Reforestation Law in 1936, 1939, 1941 and 1952. Then in 1964 an additional 204.5 acres were added under the Park and Recreation Land Acquisition Act of 1960, bringing Goundry Hill State Forest to its current size of approximately 2,112 acres.
During that same time period, the United States was entering the Great Depression. The administration of then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933 to provide employment opportunities for the thousands of unemployed men at the time. Goundry Hill State Forest and other state forests were the sites of many work projects carried out by the CCC, including the planting of thousands of pine and spruce trees and the construction of water holes between 1934 and 1941. The earliest plantings were done by the Works Projects Administration (WPA). In 1935, the CCC camp S-123 was established on Pine Creek Rd. on nearby Sugar Hill State Forest.
That camp was later closed on October 31, 1941, with the pending start of World War II, so later plantings were done by inmates and/or DEC staff.
State forests now provide opportunities for many informal outdoor recreational activities. They also provide wood for New York's forest products industry, a major part of New York's economy.
As many of the plantations established by the CCC and inmates reach the end of their natural life (75-100 years of age), it is reasonable to assume that it will all begin to decline at nearly the same time, and in the process convert to natural hardwood stands. As this decline intensifies, salvage timber sales of some of these areas will probably be necessary.
This state forest also has mineral resources, and a history of mineral extraction. In 2001, a deep natural gas well was drilled south of Guerin Rd. It successfully hit gas, and visitors should expect to see natural gas wellheads and pipelines. The pipeline and power line corridors provide additional access to the interior of the forest (foot travel only please).
Today, Goundry Hill and all state forests in New York are managed for multiple benefits to serve the needs of the people of New York. Sustainable management practices ensure a perpetual supply of timber, a diversity of wildlife habitats, compatible recreational opportunities and clean water.
From I86, take Exit 42 (Coopers Plains), head north on Meads Creek Rd. (County Rte. 26 / County Rte. 16). Turn left onto Sexton Hollow Rd, then right onto Corbett Hollow Rd.
From State Rte. 226, head south on Yawger Hill Rd. Then turn left at the "Y" onto Goundry Hill Rd. take a right at the "T" to stay on Goundry Hill Rd. then turn right onto Guerin Rd.
Comments and Suggestions
State forest lands are owned by all New York State Residents and represent a significant natural heritage for future generations. The Department of Environmental Conservation strives to manage these lands for the best long-term interests. We appreciate your help. If you have suggestions on how we can improve the management of these lands, please let us know. Address your concerns to the Lands and Forests DEC Region 8 Bath Sub-Office.
For further information on management activities:
Contact State Land Management Working Group, DEC Bath Sub- Office 607-776-2165. (M-F; 8:30 am to 4:45 pm)
Important Telephone Numbers
Fire and Law Enforcement : 585-226-6706 or 911
State Forest Office (M - F; 8:30 am to 4:45 pm) 607-776-2165