Turnpike State Forest
Turnpike State Forest, also known as Allegany #2, totals 4,744 acres. The state forest is located in Allegany County in the Towns of Almond and West Almond and borders Interstate 86. This area provides opportunities for outdoor recreational activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, camping, bird watching, nature photography, and hunting. The forest provides habitat for wildlife species such as 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, Turnpike State Forest was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps or 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 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.
There are 7.5 miles of marked trails for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding from June 1-September 30. A large parking area with kiosk, trail maps, covered picnic tables, porta-john, covered tie stalls, and a platform for people with disabilities to access horses is located on the Stewart Forest Road. ATVs and snowmobiles are prohibited.
Organized trail events require coordinators to obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event. These can be obtained at the Belmont DEC Office at 585-466-3241.
Hunting is allowed on the property. Be sure to abide by all game laws in affect through the NYSDEC. Campers can set up at two parking areas on the Stewart Forest Road and also at log landings that have been graveled for vehicle access. Permanent tree stands and ATVs are prohibited. More information can be obtained from your local DEC office by calling 585-466-3241.
Allowed on multipurpose trails (7-11). Horses are allowed on trails 1-6 only from June 1 through September 30 each year.
Allowed on the property, but not on the marked cross-country ski trails. The Allegany County Federation of Snowmobilers, Inc. have marked trails which they maintain through this state forest.
Access for People with Disabilities
The horse parking area on Stewart Forest Road has an accessible platform that allows riders with disabilities to get on their horses.
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.
To reach the Turnpike State Forest from Interstate 86, take exit 32 (West Almond) and County Route 2 to the Town Highway facility. Turn left onto the Turnpike Road and head east up a long grade for almost 2 miles. Turn right onto the Stewart Forest Road, which will take you to the horse parking area.
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