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Gas Springs State Forest

View Gas Springs State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (266 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

Introduction

Gas Springs State Forest locator map

Gas Springs State Forest (Allegany Reforestation Area #10) is located in the Towns of Almond, Birdsall and Burns in Allegany County. The forest gets its name from the natural gas springs that occur in the area. Gas Springs State Forest covers a total of 2,263 acres and is bordered by both Klipnocky State Forest and Slader Creek State Forest.

History

More than half of the acreage was cleared for agriculture in the early 1800's, but by the 1930's most of the farmland had been abandoned. In the 1930s, Harris Hill Management Unit was the site of work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC. The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the Depression. The CCC's used water holes like the one in the picture on this page were use to water the thousands of trees that they planted in the nearby tree plantations on Gas Springs State Forest. some of these water holes can be seen still today as small depressions near the plantation areas, and will have a rocks stacked around the edge to line the rim. Constructing water holes for collecting water near the plantations was common practice by the CCC's, especially in an area where a natural water source was scarce.

Waterhole constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps
Waterhole constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps

Field Notes

Gas Springs State Forest is composed of 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.

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.

Recreation

Hunting

The area is a popular destination for hunting both small game and big game. Please be sure to abide by all applicable game laws.

Hiking

The Finger Lakes Trail / North Country National Scenic Trail passes through the extreme eastern end of Gas Springs State Forest. This trail can also be used for snowshoeing and skiing, but keep in mind that some of the terrain can be challenging for these activities.

Tips for using State Forest

Pond at Gas Springs State Forest
Pond at Gas Springs State Forest

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.

Directions

Gas Springs State Forest lies between the hamlet of Birdsall and the Village of Canaseraga, and is accessible via County Route 15B and several connecting town roads including Hiltonville Road, Malone Road and Newton Road.

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