Hatch Creek State Forest
Please Note: Road conditions have improved, North, South and Hodge Forest Roads are open.
Hatch Creek State Forest (Chautauqua #10) totals 1,283 acres and is located in the town of Gerry, south of Sinclairville in central eastern Chautauqua County. This forest provides opportunities for many outdoor recreational activities and is home to a variety of wildlife species. Hatch Creek State Forest is also a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers.
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.
Numerous wildlife species can be found in Hatch Creek State Forest, including white tail deer, ruffed grouse, rabbit, and turkey.
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 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.
Hunting and Fishing
Hunting is 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 for Wildlife Management Unit 9K that covers Hatch Creek State Forest.
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 mountain biking, walking/hiking, and horseback riding. In the winter, they are popular for cross country skiing and snowmobiling. A local snowmobile club called "Lake Effect Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club" 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 716-363-2052.
State Forest Regulations
State lands belong to all of us. Help care for this area and enhance the enjoyment of it for yourself and those who follow by observing these simple guidelines.
From Sinclairville take Route 60 south to Old Chautauqua Road. Turn east on Old Chautauqua Road and travel for 2 ½ miles to South and/or North Forest Roads. There is a yellow pipe gate at the entrances that is normally open. In the winter these roads are not plowed and are used for the snowmobile trail.
Important Phone Numbers
State Forest Office (M-F 8-4 PM): 716-363-2052
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 716-771-7180