Cattaraugus State Forest
Cattaraugus State Forest, also known as Cattaraugus Reforestation Area #18, consists of 1,059 acres and is located in Cattaraugus County in the Towns of New Albion and Mansfield. The most common recreational uses of this area are hunting and snowmobile riding.
State Forests are managed for multiple uses. Forest management provides raw materials for New York's forest products industry, 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.
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 on this property. 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 some of the remains of inhabitants that used to live on this state forest.
This area has been managed to provide young forest habitat. It contains a mix of sizes and species of trees. Management for a variety of habitats will continue. These types of habitats benefit wildlife species such as whitetail deer, turkey and ruffed grouse.
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 on this property. 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.
Cattaraugus State Forest offers a limited variety of recreational opportunities, the major activities are snowmobiling and hunting.
There are no designated hiking trails. However, the snowmobile trail on the property can be used for hiking in the off season.
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.
There are three designated camp sites on this state forest, two are off of Potter Hill road, and one is off of West Hill road. See map link above for general locations. The sites are roadside primitive tent sites and designated with a yellow camp disk. If you have ten or more people at at site or are planning on staying longer than three nights you need to obtain a camp permit from a Forest Ranger. (Contact numbers are at bottom of this page.)
Hunting is allowed on the property; be sure to abide by all game laws.
Skiing and Snowshoeing
There are no designated trails for this activity.
This is not a major activity on this property. There are no designated trails.
This is not a major activity on this property. There are no designated trails but the snowmobile trial can be used in the summer months.
A snowmobile trail crosses this property. Cattaraugus County Snowmobile Federation has an Adopt-A-Natural Resource Agreement for this trail. Remember, this trail also crosses and connects various parcels of private land, so please be respectful of adjacent land owners and stay on the trail.
Access for People with Disabilities
No facilities exist on this property.
Tips for Using State Forests
Anyone enjoying this property must observe rules which protect visitors and the forest environment.
From Little Valley, on Route 353 turn at the Fairgrounds and go across the bridge. Turn left onto Toad Hollow Road, County Road #14. Drive north on County Road 14 to the Five Points intersection and turn left onto Krager Road. Drive west to the state forest.
Allegany DEC Forestry Office (M-F 8-4 p.m.): 716-372-0645
Questions about emergencies, search and rescue, wildfire, or state land rules and regulation enforcement may be directed to a Forest Ranger:
Or you can reach the Forest Ranger general dispatch number at: 1-877-457-5680
General Emergencies: 911