Jersey Hill State Forest
- Open for Recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 9 Almond Office: 585-466-3241 (M-F, 8:00AM - 4:00PM); firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: 518-408-5850 or 911
- Location: Towns of Birdsall and West Almond, Allegany County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 9P
- Map: View Jersey Hill State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (197 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Jersey Hill State Forest totals 1,088 acres. This area provides opportunities for outdoor recreational activities like hiking, snowmobiling, camping and hunting.
The forest provides various habitats for many wildlife species including deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey. It is also a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry, which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers.
In the 1930s, Jersey Hill State Forest was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the Great Depression. CCC projects included the construction of roads and the planting of thousands of pine and spruce trees in the open areas on the property. A fire tower and observer's cabin were built on a hill in this area to aid in the early detection of any forest fires that might threaten the reforestation projects on recently acquired abandoned farm lands.
Hunting & Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed on the property. Be sure to abide by all game laws. Permanent tree stands and ATVs are prohibited.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
Campers can set up at the former site of the fire tower and at log landings that have been graveled for vehicle access. At-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
Forest roads and logging trails are available for hiking. Note that the forest roads are not plowed in winter unless a timber sale is in progress.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
Forest roads and logging trails are available for skiing and snowshoeing. Note that the forest roads are not plowed in winter unless a timber sale is in progress.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
The Allegany County Federation of Snowmobilers (leaves DEC website) has marked trails which they maintain through this state forest. ATVs are prohibited.
General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
Forest roads and logging trails are available for horseback riding. Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses and out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a 30-day health certificate. Note that the forest roads are not plowed in winter unless a timber sale is in progress.
To reach Jersey Hill State Forest from Interstate 86, take exit 32 (West Almond), turn left onto Karr Valley Road and then take your first right onto Miller Road. After about 2.5 miles, turn right onto County Route 2A. Continue north for half a mile and bear left onto Jersey Hill Road. Continue for about a mile to the intersection with Davison Road and turn left to enter the state forest. The road to the site of the former fire tower is a half mile down on the right. Or continue further north on Jersey Hill Road to Scholes Forest Road and turn left to enter the state forest.
There are no designated parking areas on the unit but roadside parking is available. The state forest is located at 42.359523°N, 77.878886°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 Jersey Hill State Forest
DEC is developing a management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.
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 through 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, which provide 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.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
State Lands and Facilities
- Gillies Hill State Forest
- Karr Valley Creek State Forest
- Hiltonville State Forest
- Palmer's Pond State Forest
- Bald Mountain State Forest
Gas, food and other supplies, dining opportunities, and lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Alfred Station and Angelica.
Allegany County Tourism (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.