Coyle Hill State Forest
Coyle Hill State Forest, also known as Allegany #17, totals 2,343 acres. This state forest is located in Allegany County in the towns of Belfast and Friendship. This area provides opportunities for outdoor recreational activities, such as, hiking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, and hunting.
The forest is a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry, which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers. It also provides various habitats for many wildlife species such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey.
In the 1930s, Coyle Hill State Forest was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps or 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 the open areas of the property.
The 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. These thinnings provide openings of 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 naturally regenerate. Periodic thinning of the forest for the sale of forest products gives the residual trees more growing space. This helps to keep the forest healthy and provides openings for new seedlings. New trees grow, providing food and cover for wildlife and a source of future crop trees. Some stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth. In actuality, these stands have been harvested prior to state ownership.
There are 5.8 miles of marked multi-purpose recreational trails. These trails have also been designated as ATV access routes for persons with disabilities. Forest roads (which are not plowed unless a timber sale is in progress) and logging trails are also available for hiking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and horseback riding. The Allegany County Federation of Snowmobilers, Inc. have marked trails which they maintain through this state forest. ATVs are prohibited, except for persons with disabilities who hold an MAPPWD permit.
Hunting and trapping are allowed on the property in accordance with all game laws enforced by the NYSDEC. Campers can set up at log landings that have been graveled for vehicle access. Permanent tree stands and ATV use other than by an MAPPWD permit is prohibited. More information can be obtained from your local DEC office by calling 585-268-5392.
Skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, and horseback riding are also allowed on the property.
There are three recreational trails for Persons with Disabilities off of the Warner and Warner Spur Forest Roads on the Coyle Hill State Forest. Special use permits can be obtained by contacting the Allegany DEC office at 716-372-0645. With this permit, designated access trails can be accessed using ATVs. Otherwise, these access trails are closed to ATVs.
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 those who follow by observing these simple guidelines:
- What you carry in, carry out. Leave the area cleaner than you found it. Burying refuse is prohibited.
- If you are planning to camp for more than three nights or have a group of ten or more, obtain a permit from a forest ranger.
- If you build a fire, do so with care and use wood from dead and down trees only.
- All motorized vehicles are restricted to access roads posted as motor vehicle trails. Off road use of motorized vehicles, such as, ATVs (unless MAPPWD permitted), trail bikes and four wheel drives is not allowed.
- No permanent structures shall be established, including tree stands or blinds.
- Please do not deface, remove, destroy, or otherwise injure any tree, shrub, flower, fern, moss or other plant, rock, fossil, or mineral found or growing on state lands.
- Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.
To reach Coyle Hill State Forest from Interstate 86, take exit 30 (Belvidere), north on State Route 19 for .2 mile, turn left onto Hess Road for 1.25 miles, then left onto Warner Road which leads into the state forest.
State Forest Office (M-F 8-4 p.m.): 585-466-3241
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 585-403-9574 and 585-415-1521