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Bryant Hill State Forest

Bryant Hill State Forest locator map

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The 509-area Bryant Hill State Forest is a popular hunting and camping destination. There are no designated trails but hiking is allowed throughout the property.

This property was mostly farm land at one time. A pipeline crosses the property that predates state ownership. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) carried out projects at Bryant Hill State Forest. The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the Great Depression. Projects included the planting of thousands of pine, larch and spruce trees in the open areas on the property.

State Forests are managed for multiple uses. They provide raw material for New York's forest products industry, which provides employment and income for many people. They are managed for wildlife by creating and maintaining various habitats for many species such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey. In addition, forest management is important for providing recreational opportunities and protecting watersheds.

Featured Activities

Sign at entrance to Bryant Hill State Forest

Hunting and Trapping


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

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.


primitive camping

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

There is one designated campsite on Smith Road. In addition, 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.


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


From Ellicottville, take County Road 71 to Sommerville Valley Road. Take a right on Smith Road and drive to the end. The access from the north off Dooley Road is blocked to traffic. The Clare Valley Road from the south has been abandoned as well.

There are no designated parking areas on the unit, however roadside parking is available. The state forest is located at (42.284377°N, 78.579916°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 Bryant Hill 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.

Specific Rules

Hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

How We Manage Bryant Hill State Forest

DEC has developed a Draft Cattaraugus Unit Management Plan which describes the proposed management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

Timber Management

Conifer - The stands of pine were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. These will be converted to hardwoods by removal of the conifer overstory and by allowing the hardwood seedlings that usually exist in these stands to grow into a new hardwood forest. Since much of this property was old field planted to conifer, there have been some major conifer removal projects. These will continue as rapidly as possible.

Hardwood - Hardwood trees are not usually planted as they spread vast amounts of seed and naturally regenerate. Thinning of the forest through the sale of forest products gives the residual trees more growing space. This helps to keep the forest healthy and provides openings for new seedlings. It also provides a revolving supply of food and cover for wildlife and future crop trees. Some stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth, but in almost all cases they are not old growth. Prior to state ownership, smaller trees in the stand were harvested, and during state ownership, the stand has been managed to favor large trees. Many other stands are mature and ready to regenerate. This is usually done by thinning the stand to promote regeneration of new seedlings, followed by an overstory removal. Forest stands that are dominated by species that require direct sunlight for reproduction are managed this way. Forest stands that contain oak species may require the use of fire or other types of disturbance to maintain the forest type.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands & Facilities

Dining opportunities, gas, and food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Franklinville and Ellicottville.
Lodging can be found in the nearby community of Ellicottville.

Cattaraugus County Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

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.