Mount Pleasant State Forest
Mount Pleasant State Forest (Chautauqua #3) totals 1,522 acres and is located in the Town of Chautauqua in the western area of Chautauqua County. This forest provides opportunities for many outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and mountain biking. It is also home to a variety of wildlife species such as Whitetail deer, bear, and turkey.
In the 1930s Mount Pleasant State Fores was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corp, or 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 pin and spruce trees in the open areas on the property.
Numerous wildlife species can be found in Mount Pleasant State Forest, including white tail deer, ruffed grouse, rabbit, and turkey. The abundance of different habitat types created by forestry management practices make this forest an ideal area for various wildlife sightings.
Mount Pleasant State Forest's marsh pond is a scenic location
for wildlife viewing.
Timber management is practiced at Mount Pleasant 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.
Much of the timber harvesting is done using mechanical harvesters that are able to grab a tree trunk with a felling head while a hydraulic saw blade cuts the tree at the base. The tree is then fed through the felling head and cut to various lengths. These machines are time efficient and have ability to process large volumes of wood in a short period of time in comparison to traditional hand felling with a chain saw.
Timber management is practiced carefully using several techniques that reduce impact on forest soils and floor. Mechanical harvesters create less soil impact due to the large tires that distribute the equipment weight better than conventional log skidders. Harvesters are used in conjunction with forwarding equipment, which pick up the logs and haul them to the log landing. These practices avoid dragging logs, which reduces soil damage to the forest floor. Harvesters also create less damage to the residual trees due to better directional felling techniques and more control over where the cut tree will fall.
Harvester equipment is used for timber management.
Hardwood trees are not usually planted because 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.
Hunting, fishing, hiking, picnicking and cross-country skiing are all popular recreational activities at Mount Pleasant State Forest. Organized trail events at Mount Pleasant State Forest require a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event, which can be obtained by contacting DEC's Dunkirk Office at (716) 363-2052.
The Westside Overland Trail passes through Mount Pleasant's
scenic northern hardwood stands.
The Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail traverses through Mount Pleasant State Forest. 4.8 miles of the trail run through Mount Pleasant State Forest, and are maintained by Chautauqua County's Department of Public Works Parks Division.
The Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail navigates the state's various aesthetically pleasing woodlots, and access trails. Bicycles, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed on the trail; motor vehicles are not allowed.
Lean-to facilities are available along the trail and are
maintained by the Chautauqua County Parks Department.
There is one lean-to facility on county property located just off of this trail directly adjacent to state land. A map for the trail can be obtained form the Chautauqua County Parks Office by going to their website in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section in the right column of this page.
Skiing and Snowshoeing
Skiing and snowshoeing are allowed at Mount Pleasant State Forest on the Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail. A popular place for many cross country skiers is the parking area off of Route 430 just out side of Mayville, which offers a plowed parking area for cross country skiers and snowshoers. The snowmobile trial may be used for these activities as well, just be cautious of snowmobiles and wear bright reflective clothing to stay visible.
Mountain biking is allowed at Mount Pleasant State Forest on the Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail.
Horseback riding is allowed at Mount Pleasant State Forest, but is not permitted on the Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail. While there are no designated trails at this time, development is currently under review.
The snowmobile trail that runs through the forest offers a
great way to enjoy some winter scenery.
The local snowmobile club maintains two sections of trail which coincides with the Fred J. Cusimano West Side overland Trail for a short section. So hikers please use caution when sharing the trail in winter. This trail is adopted and maintained by the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club. A link to their website is located in the right column of this page under the heading "Links Leaving DEC's Website." The snowmobile trail consists of about 3.3 miles that connect to various other snowmobile trails which travel off state property; please be respectful of adjacent landowners and stay on the trail. This trail also can be used for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking in the off season.
Tips for Using State Forests
State lands belong to all of us. Please help care for this area and enhance the enjoyment of it for yourself and those who follow by observing these simple guidelines.
To reach Mount Pleasant State Forest from the north, take Route 430 west from Mayville approximately 3 miles to the Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail parking lot and trail head.
Or, from the south and from interstate 86, take Exit 7. Turn right onto County Route 33, proceed north for 0.75 miles to County Route 18. Proceed west on County Route 18 for 4 miles to Morris Road. Proceed north on Morris Road 1 mile to Titus Road and a parking lot near a trail head.
Parking lots for the trail are located off of Route 430 and on the corner of Mount Pleasant and Titus Road.
State Forest Office (M-F 8-4 p.m.): 716-363-2052
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 716-771-7180