Dobbins 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: 1-877-457-5680 or 911
- Location: Towns of Little Valley and Mansfield, Cattaraugus County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 9M
- Map: View Dobbins State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (171 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
The 1,100-acre Dobbins State Forest is most popular for its hunting, snowmobiling and picnicking opportunities. There are no hiking trails but hiking is allowed throughout the property. Harry Dobbins was a forester responsible for the purchase of many of the New York State Forests, and this state forest was named after him in remembrance.
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) carried out forestry projects on this property. 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. Several red oak plantations exist on this property as well.
Sunlight reaches the forest floor in
Dobbins State Forest
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
A snowmobile trail passes through the southern end of the property.
Hunting and Trapping
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.
Day Use Area
The Dobbins Memorial Day Use Area has a parking lot and a picnic table. It is nestled within a Norway spruce plantation that was planted by the CCC in the 1950s. Some use this as a base camp during hunting season with a camping permit. The day use area is located near the junction between Bedient Hill Road and Schuppenhauer Road. Unfortunately, the day use area has been repeatedly vandalized and the high cost of continually cleaning it up prevents proper maintenance.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are three designated camp sites on this state forest: two are located at the day use area and one is located on Kahler Hill Road. These are primitive tent sites and are near the road. 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.
Shelter and picnic area at Dobbins State Forest
From Little Valley, turn at the Fairgrounds onto Kahler Hill Road and keep right at the fork when Hart Road branches off. Follow Kahler Hill Road to the top of the hill and turn right onto Bedient Hill Road to the Dobbins Memorial Day Use Area parking lot. All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 Datum.
- Day use area parking lot (42.285637°N, 78.782961°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) 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 Dobbins 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.
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 creating and maintaining various habitats for species such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey. They are also managed for recreational opportunities and watershed protection.
If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at email@example.com.
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 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, which will continue.
Hardwood - Hardwood trees are not usually planted as they spread vast amounts of seed and naturally regenerate. The oak plantations on this property are a notable exception. 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 that appear to be old growth, but in almost all cases they are not. These stands have been harvested prior to state ownership or managed during state ownership to favor large trees. Many other stands are mature and ready to regenerate into new stands. Thinning stands and removing the overstory promotes regeneration of new seedlings. Forest stands that are dominated by species that require direct sunlight for reproduction are managed in this way. Forest stands that contain oak species may require the use of fire or other types of disturbance to maintain this forest type.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
State Lands & Facilities
Gas can be found in the nearby communities of Ellicottville and Little Valley.
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 Cattaraugus, Ellicottville and Little Valley.
Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Ellicottville and Little Valley.
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.