Swift Hill State Forest
Swift Hill State Forest (Allegany Reforestation Area #19) is located in the Towns of Centerville and Rushford in Allegany County. Swift Hill State Forest covers a total of 1,569 acres. The forest cover types are a mixture of native hardwood species and planted conifers
The area was settled in the early 1800's. Much of the land now comprising the State Forest was cleared for agriculture, but by the early 1900's much of the worn-out farmland was being abandoned and reverting once again to forest. After State acquisition in the 1930's, the fields were planted with a variety of conifers by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
The former Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad bed borders the forest on its eastern boundary (which accounts for the long curve in the boundary line). This railroad, which ran from Buffalo to Wellsville and on into Pennsylvania, operated for only about a decade, from 1907 to 1916. A large concrete culvert still exists under the railroad bed, just outside the State Forest boundary.
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.
Swift Hill State Forest offers various opportunities for recreation.
The area receives a great deal of use for both small game and big game hunting. Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted. Traps may not be set on public road right of ways. Body gripping traps set on land must be at least 100 feet from public trails.
The Finger Lakes Trail / North Country National Scenic Trail passes through the northern portion of Swift Hill State Forest. Parking is available where the trail crosses the Rushford-Centerville Road. This trial can also be used for snowshoeing and skiing, but keep in mind some of the terrain can be challenging for these activities. More info on the trails can be found by clicking the links under the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section.
New York State Snowmobile Corridor Trail 3B passes north-south through Swift Hill State Forest. More info can be found by clicking the link under the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section.
There are no formal camp sites on this property, however individuals may set up camp at any location which is at least 150 feet from water bodies, streams, roads or trails. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger (see telephone numbers below).
Geo-caching is allowed although caches must be marked with the owner's contact information and may not be placed in dangerous or ecologically sensitive locations.
Tips for Using State Forests
Anyone enjoying this property must observe rules which protect both people and the forest environment.
Swift Hill State Forest lies between the hamlets of Centerville and Rushford and is accessible from County Route 23 and several town roads.
State Forest Office (M-F 8-4 p.m.): 585-466-3241
Forest Rangers: 585-403-9574 or 585-415-1521