Stockton State Forest
Stockton State Forest (Chautauqua #6) totals 977 acres, and is located in the Town of Stockton in the north central part of Chautauqua County. This state forest provides opportunities for many outdoor recreational activities and is home to a variety of wildlife species.
Numerous wildlife species can be found in Stockton State Forest, including white tail deer, ruffed grouse, rabbit, and turkey.
Stockton State Forest land was purchased by New York State in the 1930s for timber production, recreational use, watershed protection, and wildlife habitat. Like many others, this state forest was the focus of numerous projects by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCCs, 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 Stockton 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.
Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting and fishing are popular recreational activities in Stockton State Forest. While there are no designated hiking trails at Stockton State Forest, there is a snowmobile trail and gas well access roads that run through the property. One of the access roads, called Blackman Forest Road, is popular for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding. If you are interested in using the snowmobile trail for an organized event, a permit is needed. Call DEC's office at (716) 363-2052 for permit information.
Hunting is allowed on the property; please abide by all game laws in effect through DEC; more information can be obtained from your local DEC office by calling (716) 363-2052. Stockton State Forest is located within Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 9J, which contains many diverse habitat conditions. Various roads provide good vehicle access and trails for foot travel.
There are no designated hiking trails at Stockton State Forest, however hiking is allowed throughout the property except for areas of active logging operations.
The local snowmobile club maintains a section of trail which does not coincide with the hiking trail. The trails are adopted and maintained by Ellery Snow Cruisers or the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club. This trail consists of about 3 miles that connect to various other snowmobile trails that travel off state property. Please be respectful of adjacent landowners. This trail also can be used for other recreational activities during the off season.
Skiing and Snowshoeing
There are no designated skiing or snowshoeing trails at Stockton State Forest, however skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on snowmobile trails and gas well access roads.
There are no designated skiing or mountain biking trails at Stockton State Forest, however mountain biking is allowed on snowmobile trails and gas well access roads.
There are no designated horseback riding trails at Stockton State Forest, however horseback riding is allowed on snowmobile trails (during the off season) and gas well access roads.
Tips for Using State Forests
State lands belong to all of us. Help care for this area and enhance the enjoyment of it for yourself and for those who follow by observing these simple guidelines.
From Stockton, take County Route 58 west 2.1 miles to Coes Road. Proceed south on Coes Road 1 mile to Stockton State Forest.
State Forest Office (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.): (716) 363-2052
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): (716) 771-7180