Hatch Creek State Forest
- Open for Recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 9 Dunkirk Office: 716-363-2052 (M-F, 8:00AM - 4:00PM); firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: 1-877-457-5680 or 911
- Location: Town of Gerry, Chautauqua County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 9K
- Map: View Hatch Creek State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (234 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Hatch Creek State Forest totals 1,283 acres. This forest provides opportunities for many outdoor recreational activities and is home to a variety of wildlife species. It is also a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers.
There are three state forest roads on the property: North Forest Road, South Forest Road, and Hodge Forest Road. In the summer, these roads can be used for biking, walking/hiking, and horseback riding. In the winter, they are popular for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Hunting and trapping are allowed on the property. Be sure to abide by all applicable game laws. Various hunter and trapper harvest records are available for the towns and the wildlife management unit that the state forest is located in.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
The three state forest roads on the property can be used for hiking. In the winter, be aware that snowmobilers use the same roads.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
A local snowmobile club, the Lake Effect Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club (leaves DEC website), maintains approximately 2.1 miles of trail within Hatch Creek State Forest. The trail connects to various other snowmobile trails that travel off state property. Please be respectful of adjacent landowners.
Coordinators of organized trail events need to obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event. These can be obtained by contacting DEC's Dunkirk Office at the number at the top of the page.
Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
The three state forest roads on the property can be used for skiing and snowshoeing. Be aware that snowmobilers use the same roads.
General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are no designated trails but the three state forest roads on the property can be used for biking.
General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are no designated trails but the three state forest roads on the property can be used for horseback riding. In the winter, be aware that snowmobilers use the same roads.
From Sinclairville take Route 60 south and turn left on Old Chautauqua Road. Travel for 2 ½ miles to South Forest Road on the right or North Forest Road on the left. There is a yellow pipe gate at each entrance that is normally open. In the winter these roads are not plowed and are used for the snowmobile trail.
There are no designated parking areas on the unit, however roadside parking is available. The state forest is located at (42.241208°N, 79.215276°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.
How We Manage Hatch Creek State Forest
DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Chautauqua Unit Management Plan. In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.
Most of the land comprising Hatch Creek State Forest was purchased in the 1930s and was the focus of numerous projects by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the Depression. CCC projects included the construction of roads and the planting of thousands of pine and spruce trees in open areas on the property.
Conifer and hardwood timber management is practiced at Hatch Creek State Forest. The conifer stands of pine and spruce were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. They are usually managed by a series of partial harvest thinnings, which provide openings for sunlight to encourage natural regeneration of native hardwoods. The removal of the conifer overstory in the final harvest allows the hardwood seedlings to grow to maturity.
Hardwood trees are not usually planted as they spread vast amounts of seed and regenerate naturally. Periodic thinning of the forest through the sale of forest products gives the residual trees adequate growing space. This practice helps to keep the forest healthy and provides openings for new seedlings, a revolving supply of food and cover for wildlife, and a source of future crop trees. Some hardwood stands contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth. These stands were actually harvested prior to state ownership.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
State Lands and Facilities
Gas can be found in the nearby communities of Gerry and Jamestown.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Sinclairville and Jamestown.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Cherry Creek, Gerry, Jamestown and Sinclairville.
Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Cherry Creek and Jamestown.
Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.
Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.
Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.
Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.