Tracy Creek State Forest
Tracy Creek State Forest is located one mile northwest of the hamlet of Rathbone, in the Allegheny Plateau. The forest is located in the town of Rathbone, Steuben County.
Recreational opportunities in this state forest focus on rustic experiences with a limited amount of development. There is one formally designated trail, the "Long View Trail", which accesses the northern 2/3 of the forest, along a gated administrative access road. Town, county, and DEC 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.
Portions of this forest will require significant walking to access. Some portions may be considered remote and difficult to access. This forest also has a fair sized component of open fields which are somewhat unique on state forest properties.
Salamander on Tracy Creek State Forest
Tracy Creek, which flows through the center of the forest, is a major water course and has, in the past, had significant incidents of flash flooding. Today, Tracy Creek 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.
Individuals with qualifying disabilities may apply for a permit to operate an ATV on trails designated by the NYS DEC. A permit must first be obtained from the NYS DEC. This program is known as the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD). Long View Trail, behind a gate, is the designated trail for this state forest.
Full listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations.
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.
This area was first settled in approximately 1793. The town of Rathbone was formed in 1856. As noted in numerous other state forest descriptions, agricultural abandonment occurred relatively early (1910-1929) on the hilltop lands occupied by this state forest.
This forest was acquired under the terms of the Hewlett Amendment to the New York State Constitution and the terms of the Enlarged Reforestation Act. Acquisition was not completed until the post World War II era (1946-1950). The current size of the area is about 569 acres.
As noted above, this forest was not acquired until after the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) era. Thus the CCC did not conduct reforestation activities on this Forest. Planted softwood does not make up a large percentage of this forest
To gain access to this forest from the Hamlet of Rathbone, travel northerly on County Route 21, make a right turn (again northerly) onto County Route 80, which traverses the center of the forest.
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