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Kettlebail State Forest

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Kettlebail State Forest locator map

Kettlebail State Forest encompasses 588 acres. This densely wooded forest provides a secluded area that is perfect for activities such as hunting, trapping, informal camping and hiking. Wildlife and plant life are encouraged to flourish within this managed forest.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

The forest has a 1-mile section of a hiking trail twisting through it. The trail connects with Labrador Hollow Unique Area, as well as Morgan Hill State Forest.

Camping

primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

At-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Aster in Kettlebail State Forest

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Fishing Access information is available. Fishing Easement information is available.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Game species such as deer, grouse, squirrels and turkey are quite plentiful making this a good forest for hunting.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

The forest has a 1.1-mile section of snowmobile trail that eventually connects to the trails on Morgan Hill State Forest.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

snowshoeing
cross country skiing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the different song birds that fly through the forest, as many species, both rare and common, have been observed in the area.

Directions

Kettlebail State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 80 to Truxton Road, then turning onto Kettlebail Road.

(42.7758365°N, 76.0686866°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Kettlebail State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

How We Manage Kettlebail State Forest

DEC foresters are charged with the responsibility of managing State Forests to enhance and maintain a diverse and healthy forest ecosystem for society and wildlife. As such, forest management is strategically employed to develop a balanced mix of young, middle-aged, and old (late successional) forest types. Kettlebail State Forest is part of the Hill and Hollow Unit Management Plan. A Unit Management Plan (UMP) guides the DEC's land management activities on several geographically related forests for a ten-year period, although a number of goals and objectives in the plan focus on a much longer time period. Each UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use and forest management. Land management actions will be guided by the Hill and Hollow Unit Management Plan. If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us info.r7@dec.ny.gov.

The composition of Kettlebail State Forest includes northern hardwood, northern hardwood-hemlock, and conifer coverings.

History

Kettlebail State Forest was originally used as an extensive hunting ground by the Iroquois. The land was later cleared for farming by Revolutionary War Veterans and early European settlers. To the dismay of many farmers, the area's soils are thin, relatively steep and acidic, and the growing seasons are short with long, harsh winters. Intensive agricultural practices only led to damaged, undesirable and unproductive land that became too costly to manage. Eventually, many farmers abandoned their upland farm properties in pursuit of better farmland in the Midwest.

The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 were created by the Roosevelt Administration as a means for the state to take over the responsibility of managing abandoned farms, making them productive once more. Kettlebail was purchased in parcels by the State of New York in the early 1930's to undergo reforestation efforts. Department foresters and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) worked diligently to re-establish the land as forest, and, with the planting of 1,468,631 conifer seedlings, their hard work was successful. Today, the landscape has been transformed into forest and now provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services to hundreds of people each year.

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Cortland County Tourism Office (Leaves DEC website)

Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Tully and Cortland.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.