Wellman State Forest
Wellman State Forest (Chautauqua RA #14) totals 447 acres, and is located in the Town of Busti, East of Panama. This forest provides opportunities for many outdoor recreational activities and is home to a variety of wildlife species.
Wellman State Forest land was purchased by the people of New York State in the 1960's, for timber production, recreational use, watershed protection, and wildlife habitat. Wellman State Forest was planted with of thousands of pine and spruce trees in the open areas on the property.
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 thinnings. These thinnings provide openings of sunlight to encourage natural regeneration of native hardwood. The removal of the conifer overstory in the final harvest allows the hardwood seedling 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 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 stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth. Often these large trees represent survivors of timber harvesting prior to state ownership.
Wellman State Forest's diverse cover types allow a variety of wildlife species to thrive, including deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey.
Hunting is allowed within Wellman State Forest; please be sure to abide by all applicable game laws. Wellman State Forest is located in Wildlife Management Unit 9J. Hunting opportunities within the forest vary with habitat conditions.
Wellman State Forest offers many recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, picnicking and cross-country skiing. While there are no formal trails established in Wellman State Forest, gas well roads can be utilized for these activities. The public is allowed anywhere on the property.
Organizers of trail events need to obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event. These can be obtained through the Dunkirk DEC Office at 716-363-2052.
Tips for Using State Forests
State lands belong to all of us. Please help us to care for this area and to enhance the enjoyment of it for yourself and those who follow by observing these simple guidelines.
To reach Wellman State Forest from Busti, take Busti Sugar-Grove Road south 3 miles to Kortwright Road. Take Kortwright west 3 miles to Wellman Road and Wellman State Forest.
State Forest Office (M-F, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.): 716-363-2052
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 716-771-7180