Cattaraugus State Forest
- Open for Recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 9 Allegany Office (M-F 8:00AM - 4:00PM): (716) 372-0645, email: email@example.com
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Towns of New Albion and Mansfield in Cattaraugus County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 9M
- Map: View Cattaraugus State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (174 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
The 1,059-acre Cattaraugus State Forest is a popular hunting and snowmobile riding destination.
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) carried out projects on this forest. The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment 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. This property was mostly farm land at one time, and house sites can be found along the roads. A small school house was located on Smith Hill Road near the Mansfield town line. Some house sites can be located by looking for myrtle, a creeping vine with evergreen leaves, that was planted around the foundations by the settlers and now has spread to cover the forest floor in the area. There is a cemetery just north of this forest on West Hill Road that probably contains the remains of some of the inhabitants that used to live on this state forest.
Hunting and Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed during appropriate seasons. Be sure to abide by all game laws.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
A snowmobile trail crosses the property. The Snow Bounders snowmobile club (leaves DEC website) maintains this trail through a volunteer stewardship agreement. The trail also crosses and connects various parcels of private land, so please be respectful of adjacent land owners and stay on the trail.
Trails are planned to minimize impacts to the forest environment and to not conflict with other management objectives while providing a pleasant and interesting recreational experience. Organized trail event coordinators need to obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of trails prior to the event. These can be obtained online or at the Allegany Sub-Office.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are 3 designated campsites on this state forest: 2 are off of Potter Hill Road and 1 is off of West Hill Road. These are roadside primitive tent sites and are designated with a yellow campsite marker.
At-large primitive camping is also allowed throughout the property. 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 Little Valley, on Route 353 turn at the Fairgrounds onto Kahler Hill Road and go across the bridge. Turn left onto Toad Hollow Road (County Road 14). Drive north on this road to the Five Points intersection and turn left onto Krager Hill Road. Continue on this road to enter the state forest.
There are no designated parking areas on the unit, however roadside parking is available. (42.325666°N, 78.820004°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.
Hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.
How We Manage Cattaraugus 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 and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.
If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Forests are managed for multiple uses. Forest management provides raw materials for New York's forest products industry, and a source of employment and income for many New Yorkers. They are managed for wildlife by the creation and maintenance of various habitats for species such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey. They are also managed to provide recreational opportunities and for watershed protection.
Conifer - 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 allowing the hardwood seedlings that usually exist in these stands to grow to be a new hardwood forest. Since much of this property was old field planted to conifer, there have been some major conifer removal projects. These projects will continue as rapidly as possible. Some white pine will be retained if possible as it is a native species and provides some wildlife benefit.
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, 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. Smaller trees in these stands were harvested prior to state ownership, and during state ownership the forest has been managed to favor large trees. Many other stands are mature and ready to regenerate. Thinning the stand promotes regeneration of new seedlings. This is 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 this forest type.
There are young hardwood stands that exist on this forest that were created as a result of past conifer to hardwood conversion projects. Some of these stands are now large enough to require some tree removal to maximize the growth of the best trees.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
State Lands & Facilities
Gas can be found in the nearby communities of Little Valley and Ellicottville.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Cattaraugus and Ellicottville.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Little Valley, Cattaraugus and Ellicottville.
Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Little Valley and 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.