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Moss Hill State Forest

View Moss Hill State Forest Map || Map Same Map in PDF (262 Kb) || Forest Stewardship Demonstration Tour Brochure in PDF (8.5" x 14", 340 Kb) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

Moss Hill State Forest locator map

Moss Hill State Forest is located four miles west of the village of Bath, in the Allegheny Plateau. This forest is located in the towns of Bath and Bradford, Steuben County.

Tips for Using State Forests

Recreation

Recreational opportunities on this state forest focus on rustic experiences with a limited amount of development. There are no formally designated trails. 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.

Snowmobiling on Moss Hill
Snowmobiling on seasonal town road on Moss Hill

This forest shares a long common boundary with Birdseye Hollow State Forest (Steuben Reforestation Area #8). In some cases it is difficult to tell which forest you are in without a map!

Forest Stewardship Demonstration Tour is self-guided Forest Stewardship Demonstration Tour on Birdseye Hollow and Moss Hill State Forests. It has six road side stops which show different stages of forest growth; from young seedling/sapling stands, less than ten years old, to mature forests approaching 100 years of age. It is designed to show how forests change over time. It also demonstrates how forest management helps to maintain ecological diversity which provides a variety of benefits. Brochures are located at each stop, may be printed from the link above, or obtained from the Bath DEC office.

As noted below, this forest has a significant mineral history. Users should expect to see petroleum pipelines and electric transmission line corridors. These features provide good access to the forest interior (foot or horse traffic only, please).

Today, Moss 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.

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 the town of Bath arrived around 1793. The town was formed in 1796. 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 in 1930-1939 under the terms of the Hewett Amendment and the terms of the Enlarged Reforestation Act. Smaller additions were made during the early 1960's under the authority of the Parks and Recreation land acquisition bond act. The current size is 1,815 acres.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did not engage in any significant development work on this forest. Some small scale softwood tree planting was undertaken by Department crews in the 1950's and 1960's.

Much of the property for this state forest was acquired from the Lamoka Power Company, and was originally planned for a hydro-electric project. The Depression intervened. Funding for the hydro-electric project dried up, and the lands were sold to the State for use as a state forest.

This forest has a significant mineral history. Several natural gas wells were drilled immediately after World War II. These wells were abandoned in the 1950's. One notorious location, known locally as the "bubbler", remained open and vented gas to the atmosphere for almost 50 years. Several small fires occurred in this area as a result of this well. The well was plugged by the DEC in 2002.

Directions

To gain access to this state forest from Bath, take State Highway 415 heading south. Turn left (northerly) onto Utegg Road, and then right (easterly) onto Irish Hill Road.

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