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Dobbins State Forest

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Dobbins State Forest locator map

Dobbins State Forest, also known as Cattaraugus Reforestation Area # 4, is 1,100 acres. It is located in Cattaraugus County in the towns of Mansfield & Little Valley. The most common recreational use of this area is 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 creating and maintaining various habitats for species such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey. They are also managed for recreational opportunities and watershed protection.

History

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. 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.

Historically this property was mostly farm land. Before the farming era, it was a "Woodland Indian" settlement.

Field Notes

This area has been managed to provide a variety of forest habitats. The forest contains a mix of sizes and species of trees. Management for a variety of habitats will continue.

Timber Management

Historic photo of a young oak plantation on the property
Historic photo of a young oak plantation on
the property

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.

Recreation

Dobbins State Forest offers a number of opportunities for recreation.

Hiking

There are no designated trails on the property.

Camping

There are three designated camp sites on this state forest, two are located at Dobbins Memorial and one is located on Kahler Hill Road. These are primitive tent sites and are near the road. If you have more than ten people at a site or are staying more than three nights you need to obtain a permit from a Forest Ranger. Contact information is at the bottom of this page. Locations can be found on the map link at the top of the page.

Snowmobiling

Sunlight reaches the forest floor in Dobbins State Forest
Sunlight reaches the forest floor in
Dobbins State Forest

A snowmobile trail passes through this property. It has been adopted by the Cattaraugus County Snowmobile Federation.

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.

Skiing and Snowshoeing

All roads and skid trails may be used. There are no designated trails.

Mountain Biking

This is not a major activity on this property. There are no designated trails.

Horseback Riding

This is not a major activity on this property. There are no designated trails.

Dobbins Memorial Day Use Area

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 Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1950's. 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 continually vandalized. The high cost of continually cleaning it up prevents proper maintenance.

Camping

Camping is permitted on the property but there are no formal camp sites. Individuals may set up camp at any location which is at least 150 feet from water bodies, streams, roads or trails. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger (see contact information below).

Geo-caching

Shelter and picnic area at Dobbins State Forest
Shelter and picnic area at Dobbins State Forest

Geo-caching is allowed, although caches must be marked with the owner's contact information and may not be placed in dangerous or ecologically sensitive locations. See the February 2005 article in Conservationist Magazine for more information on geo-caching.

Access for People with Disabilities

No facilities exist on this property. Individuals with disabilities can apply for a Motorized Access Permit (MAPPWD) to use a motor vehicle on designated roads. The permit is available from the Accessible Recreation page by clicking the MAPPWD link in the left column.

Tips for Using State Forests

Anyone enjoying this property must observe rules which protect people and the forest environment.

Directions

From Little Valley, turn at the Fairgrounds and follow the Kahler Hill Road to the top of the hill. Turn right onto Bedient Hill Road to the Dobbins Memorial Parking Area.

Important Numbers

Allegany DEC Forestry Office (M-F 8-4 p.m.): 716-372-0645

For emergencies, search and rescue, wildfire, or state land rules and regulation enforcement, call a Forest Ranger:

(716)771-7191
(716)771-7199
(716)771-7156

Or you can reach the Forest Ranger general dispatch number at: (877) 457-5680

General Emergencies: 911