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Orton Hollow State Forest

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Orton Hollow State Forest locator map

Recreational Activities

  • Accessible Trail
  • Primitive Camping
  • Fishing
  • Hunting, Wildlife Management Unit 6K
  • Nature Photography/Observation
  • Trapping

Background Information

Orton Hollow State Forest encompasses 507 acres and is located in between the towns of Williamstown and Amboy in Oswego County along the border of Oneida County. Rugged and rustic, this forest is a good place for activities such as hunting and trapping. Game species such as weasels, deer, raccoon, rabbit, and turkey are plentiful, and hunting within these woods is a favorite for many locals.

There is a portion of the abandoned town road designated for ATV use for those holding permits issued for individuals with mobility impairments. The trail is about ½ mile in length going southerly following the old roadway. Parking is provided at the log landing at the gate. There are not other formal trails on this forest making this forest more suited to those seeking recreational opportunities of a more primitive nature.


Orton Hollow State Forest was once used by early European farmers and Revolutionary War Veterans for crop and pasture land. Unfortunately, the soils located within the Tug Hill Plateau Region of New York State consist largely of shale and sandstone deposits from receding glaciers. They are typically rocky and highly acidic. When combined with long and harsh winters, the conditions prevented most agricultural attempts from achieving significant success.

The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 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, Title 5, Environmental Conservation Law).

As a result of these provisions, the majority of Orton Hollow State Forest was purchased in the 1930's by New York State. Lands like Orton Hollow, which had once been cleared for timber and farm land, were gradually restored to forests. Reforestation reduced the problem of soil erosion, protected water quality and provided forest products and recreational opportunities. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted thousands of conifer seedlings on the newly acquired lands. Their hard work and diligence can still be seen today as evidenced by the tall pine, spruce, and larch that decorate the landscape. The transformation that occurred on the land in Orton Hollow State Forest provides hundreds of people with ecological, economic and recreational opportunities each year.

Field Notes

River at Orton Hollow State Forest

A combination of black cherry, red maple, white ash, sugar maple and hemlock cover the landscape at Orton Hollow State Forest. This stands, along with the confer plantations, provide a perfect habitat for a diverse range of plants and animals. .

In the future, Orton Hollow State Forest, along with Stone Hill State Forest, Klondike State Forest and Kasoag State Forest, will be part of the Fish Creek 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


Orton Hollow State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 13 to County Route 17, off of which a fishing access site is located. Continue on County Route 17 until Finnerty Road and turn left, then turn again onto Finnerty Road Spur. There is also access directly off of NY 13 at the intersection with Miller Road. Parking from either road will be limited, but available from the shoulder.

State Forest Regulations

Anyone enjoying the use of this State Forest must observe the following rules which protect them and the forest environment:

  1. Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying of refuse is prohibited.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Permanent structures, including tree stands or blinds, are not allowed.

Important Numbers

State Forest Office ( M-F 8 am- 4 pm): 315- 298 -7467

Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies): 315-625-7261

DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850

Emergencies: 911