Nine Mile State Forest
- Open for Recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 9 Allegany Office: 716-372-0645 (M-F, 8:30AM - 4:00PM); firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: 1-877-457-5680 or 911
- Location: Towns of Allegany and Great Valley, Cattaraugus County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 9T
- Map: View Nine Mile State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (203 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Nine Mile State Forest consists of 3,162 acres. The most common recreational uses of this area are hunting, hiking, and biking.
Parts of an old road system provide public access to the forest, but some sections are not open to vehicles. Historically there were public roads from Townsend Hollow Road to the south and Snow Brook Road to the north, but today the only vehicle access is from the North Nine Mile Road. Townsend Hollow Road access is via foot traffic only and there is no parking provided.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are no designated trails on this unit but the existing log road system provides plenty of places to hike and explore. Bike trails can also be used for hiking, but be sure to yield to bikers on the trail as this is the primary use. Coordinators of organized trail events need to obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event. These can be obtained from DEC's Allegany Office at 716-372-0645.
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 state land must be at least 100 feet from public trails.
Forest management has provided a variety of habitats for hunting. Terrain can be rugged in some areas. Access to many areas is good using forest roads. Not all roads are open to motor vehicles.
Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
All bike trails and access roads may be used for skiing and snowshoeing.
General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are some developed bike trials on the unit and additional trails are in the construction process. For more information contact the Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association (leaves DEC website).
General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are no horse trails on this area, but old logging roads may be used. DO NOT horseback ride on bike trails as this will damage the trail tread! The nearby Elkdale State Forest has established horse trails that are open to the public. It's located to the west of Nine Mile State Forest between the villages of Little Valley and Salamanca on Route 353 in Cattaraugus County.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
At-large backcountry 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.
Forestry management in this area has been focused on providing some young forest habitat while maintaining a mix of tree sizes and species. Management for a variety of wildlife habitats will continue with a focus on improving and expanding young forest habitat which supports deer, turkey, and grouse. Other examples of wildlife that can be found here include bear, native song birds, squirrels, and porcupine. The good mix of habitat created using various timber management techniques keeps the forest biologically diverse which will support a variety of wildlife species, so keep your eyes and ears alert!
Take Exit 23 off Interstate 86 and head north on Route 219, then turn right onto Route 417. After 2.3 miles, turn left onto North Nine Mile Road and drive north to Nine Mile State forest. There are no designated parking areas on the unit but roadside parking is available. The state forest is located at 42.132240°N, 78.558786°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.
How We Manage Nine Mile 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.
In the 1930s, Nine Mile State Forest was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC. The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the depression. CCC projects included the construction of roads and the planting of thousands of pine, larch and spruce trees in the open areas on the property.
Much of Nine Mile State Forest was owned by a timber company before it was a State Forest. There were many sawmills in this area, both on State Forest Land and the adjacent private property. The remains of a dam can be seen along Bowers Hollow which is adjacent to Phearsdorf Forest Road near the turnaround at the end of the road. The remains of another mill can be seen along Nine Mile Creek just off Nine Mile Forest Road.
A farm was located on what is now the Phearsdorf Forest Road, and remains of the structures can be located today. A house was located near a large Norway spruce near the road and another much older house location is near a Norway spruce out in the field. According to local legend, a civil war veteran who lived in that house tried to get rid of a wasp nest in the eaves of the house by burning the nest and burned the house to the ground. The only evidence of the house is a small hole in the ground next to the Norway spruce tree.
Three open gas wells were found on this property that were later plugged by DEC. When these wells were first found they leaked natural gas and could be lit with a match.
State Forests are managed for multiple uses. They provide a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers. They are managed for wildlife by the creation and maintenance of various habitats for many wildlife species by using various timber management techniques. They are also managed to provide recreational opportunities and for watershed protection.
Conifer - The stands of pine, larch and spruce were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. These have been or will be converted to hardwood trees by removal of the conifer overstory and to allow the hardwood seedlings that usually exist in these stands to grow to maturity.
Hardwood - Hardwood trees are not usually planted as they spread vast amounts of seed and naturally grow and 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 a source of future crop trees. Some forest stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of 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 be regenerated to new stands. This is usually done by a thinning 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 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.
Most timber on this property had been cut by the timber company before the land was sold to New York State. Now, after a half century of DEC management, many mature stands exist and are ready to be harvested and regenerated to keep the forest healthy and sustainable.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
State Lands and Facilities
- Rock City and McCarty Hill State Forests
- Windfall Creek State Forest
- Raecher Hill State Forest
- Golden Hill State Forest
- Allegany State Park (leaves DEC website)
Gas, food and other supplies, dining opportunities, and lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Allegany, Ellicottville, Olean and Salamanca.
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.