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Urbana State Forest

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Urbana State Forest locator map

Urbana State Forest is located five miles north of the village of Hammondsport. The forest is located in the towns of Urbana, Pulteney, and Wheeler, all located in Steuben County.

Tips for Using State Forests

Recreation

Recreational opportunities on this state forest focus on rustic experiences with a limited amount of development. The Bristol Hills Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail provides good access to the interior of the forest. A short loop trail also gives access to Huckleberry Bog. Huckleberry Bog is a wetland which supports Highbush Blueberry and a variety of other heath type plants. An interpretive brochure is available, on-site, for this area. 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.

Wooden platform overlooking Huckleberry Bog
Wildlife Observation Platform overlooking
Huckleberry Bog

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.

History

The first settlers in Urbana arrived around 1793 The town was formed in 1822. 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 majority of this property was acquired by the State between 1930 and 1940 under the terms of the Hewlett Amendment to the State Constitution and the authority of the Enlarged Reforestation Act. Significant additions were made in the early 1960's using the Parks and Recreation land acquisition bond acts. The current extent is about 2,690 acres.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was active in doing development work on this forest. Most of the tree planting was done post World War II (1946-1955) by Department crews. There are some younger plantations which were established on "bond act" lands in the mid-1960's.

This area was, at one time, much more highly populated than at the present. There is a fairly extensive cemetery (Glen Brook Cemetery) located on private lands within the forest, near the Reservoir Hill - Wixon Road intersection.

Field Notes

The majority of the softwood plantations are fairly young. Many of the red pine plantations are suffering decline as they were planted on areas that are very wet and not favorable to good growth in red pine.

Today, Urbana 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.

Directions

To gain access to this state forest, from Hammondsport, proceed north on Reservoir Hill Road. The forest may be accessed from Reservoir Hill, Glenbrook, Colegrove Hill, or Bean Station Roads.

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