Altmar State Forest
- Primitive Camping
- Hiking (informal, no trails)
- Nature Observation/Photography
Altmar State Forest encompasses 959 acres of land and is located in the town of Albion in northeastern Oswego County. Hunting, trapping, fishing, informal hiking, and snowmobiling can be undertaken within the rustic environment of Altmar State Forest. There are two section of snowmobile trail on the forest covering about 1.1 miles. There are no formal hiking trails.
Cleared for crop land by European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans, the land that is now Altmar State Forest offered limited reward for early farmers. Being located within the Tug Hill Plateau, the soils are predominately stoney, medium to course textured, and highly acidic. When combined with harsh winters and short growing seasons, the land proved to be too difficult to successfully cultivate, and farms were abandoned as settlement was attempted elsewhere.
The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 set forth new legislation that authorized the Conservation Department to acquire land, by gift or purchase, for reforestation areas. These State Forests, consisting of no less than 500 acres of contiguous land were to be "forever devoted to reforestation and the establishment and maintenance thereon of forests for watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, recreation and kindred purposes" (Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, Environmental Conservation Law). Altmar State Forest became one of the properties purchased by the state under this legislation; it now provides a diverse array of ecological, economic, and recreational services for hundreds of New Yorkers each year.
Altmar State Forest contains a variety of forest types. They include northern hardwood-hemlock, beech-maple, maple-basswood and conifer forests. With a dense, wild and relatively undisturbed landscape, Altmar State Forest provides excellent habitat for many different species of plants and animals. There are many game animals to be found such as deer, turkey, grouse, and squirrels, and fur bearers such as fishers, mink, weasels, and otter. Ferns, wildflowers, clubmoss and fungi are abundant. An inland dune habitat adds to the diversity of the already flourishing fauna and flora. In addition, the forest offers a home to various song birds and raptors.
All DEC foresters are charged with the responsibility of managing State Forests to enhance and maintain a diverse and healthy forest ecosystem for both society and wildlife. As such, management of the forest is strategically employed to develop a balanced mix of young, middle-aged, and old (late successional) forest types, as well as to provide for the continued success of compatible recreational activities.
Altmar State Forest is part of the Eastern Lake Ontario Unit Management Plan, which is currently being written by DEC staff. 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.
Altmar State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 13 to either Towsley Road or Albion Cross Road. Both roads run north and south through the forest and have vehicle pull offs available.
State Forest Regulations
Anyone enjoying the use of this State Forest must observe the following rules which protect them and the forest environment:
- Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying of refuse is prohibited.
- If you build a fire, do so with care and use wood from dead and downed trees only. Never leave a fire unattended. Three foot radius must be cleared around fire.
- All motorized vehicles are restricted to access roads posted as motor vehicle trails. Off road use of motorized vehicles, such as, trail bikes and four-wheel drives is not allowed, except where specifically permitted by signs, posted notice or by DEC Permit.
- Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of water, roads or trail.
- Permanent structures, including tree stands or blinds, are not allowed
State Forest Office (M-F 8 am- 4 pm): 315-298-7467
DEC Forest Ranger 518-408-5850