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Gillies Hill State Forest

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Gillies Hill State Forest locator map

Gillies Hill State Forest (Allegany Reforestation Area #8) is located in the Towns of Allen and Birdsall in Allegany County. It covers a total of 2,332 acres. The forest is named after one of the early settlers on the long north-south ridge that separates the Black Creek and Baker Creek drainages.


In the 1930s, Gillies Hill State Forest was the site of the tree nursery for the Birdsall Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp, S-117. The photo below shows seedling beds on this property. CCC members built and maintained the seedbeds and used the tree seedlings for reforestation purposes.

Field Notes

The forest cover types on Gillies Hill State Forest are a mixture of native hardwood species and planted conifers.

The hardwood stands are managed through a series of thinnings which remove the lower quality trees and give more growing space to the best quality trees. The hardwood tops are generally left in place to rot and recycle their nutrients back into the soil. The decaying tops also provide bedding and nesting cover for wildlife such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys.

1937 photo of Red Ash seed beds used to germinate tree seeds
1937 photo of Red Ash seed beds

Periodic thinnings in the red pine plantations have allowed the native hardwoods to seed into the sunlit openings. Many of the pine stands have reached maturity and the remaining overstory is now being removed to allow the hardwoods to grow to maturity. These "early-successional" hardwood stands provide an important habitat component for a variety of songbird species, as well as ruffed grouse and woodcock.



The area is a popular destination for both small game and big game hunting. Be sure to abide by all game laws in affect through the NYSDEC.


New York State Snowmobile Corridor Trail 2C passes through Gillies Hill State Forest. For more information, visit the website of the New York State Snowmobile Association. A link is provided in the column to the right.

Tips for using State Forests

Sign at forest entrance
Sign at forest entrance

State lands belong to all of us. Please help care for this area and allow all people to enjoy it by observing these simple guidelines.


Gillies Hill State Forest lies southwest of the hamlet of Birdsall, and is accessible off County Route 16 via Gillies Hill Road and Dowd Road and several connecting town roads.

Important Numbers

State Forest Office (M-F 8-4 p.m.): 585-466-3241

Forest Rangers: 585-403-9574 or 585-415-1521

Emergencies: 911