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Rock Creek State Forest

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Rock Creek State Forest locator map

Rock Creek State Forest is located eight miles south of the village of Canisteo. The forest is located in the town of Greenwood, Steuben County. It is in proximity to Greenwood and Turkey Ridge State Forests.

Tips for Using State Forests


Recreational opportunities on this state forest focus on rustic experiences with a limited amount of development. There is one short segment of snowmobile trail, maintained by the Ten Towns snowmobile club. 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.

Field Notes

Rock Creek Facility Sign
Rock Creek Facility Sign

As noted above, this forest also has significant mineral activity. The Greenwood Natural Gas Storage Field is located on this forest and is managed by Columbia Gas Transmission Co. Visitors should expect to see natural gas wellheads and pipelines. The pipeline corridors provide excellent access to the interior of the forest (foot or horseback travel only, please!)

This area supports extensive plantations of Japanese larch, red pine, and Scotch pine. Most of the Scotch pine has suffered decline from a variety of insect and disease organisms. The red pine and Japanese larch are somewhat healthier, but will eventually succumb to the same insect and disease mechanisms as the Scotch pine, and be replaced by native hardwood stands.

Today, Rock 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.

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 settled beginning in approximately 1796. The town of Greenwood was formed in 1827. 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 Hewett Amendment to the State Constitution and the authority of the Enlarged Reforestation Act. A smaller addition was made in the early 1960's using the Parks and Recreation land acquisition bond act. The current size is about 704 acres.

While the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did conduct activities on this forest; tree planting was not undertaken by the CCC at this location. Most of tree planting was done by Department crews during the immediate post World War II era (1946-1950). The CCC was active in other development work during the Depression era, including fire control, timber stand improvement, and road work.

This area has also been involved in mineral extraction for some time. The first natural gas wells in this area were drilled in the 1920's (prior to the State taking ownership).


To gain access to this state forest from Canisteo, proceed south on State Route 248. The forest can be accessed from the state highway. For alternate access, turn right (west) onto County Route 62 (Rock Creek Road), and then right onto O'Hargan Road, which bisects 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