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Nine Mile State Forest

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Nine Mile State Forest locator map

Nine Mile State Forest also known as Cattaraugus Reforestation Area #22 consists of 3,162 acres. This state forest is located in Cattaraugus County in the towns of Allegany and Great Valley. The most common recreational uses of this area are hunting, hiking, mountain bike riding and fishing.

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.

Recreation

Hiking

No designated trails on this unit but the existing log road system provide 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. Organized trail events need to have their coordinators obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event. These can be obtained at the Falconer DEC Office at 716-372-0645.

Fishing

No good areas exist for this activity on this unit.

Hunting

A road through Nine Mile State ForestHunting is allowed on the property; be sure to abide by all game laws in effect. More information can be obtained from your local DEC office by calling 716-372-0645. Terrain can be rugged in some areas so walking up and down hills is part of the hunting experience. Access is good using forest roads to many areas. Not all roads are open to motor vehicles. Forest management has provided a variety of habitats to hunt.

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 bike trail and access roads may be used.

Mountain biking

There are some developed bike trials on the unit, and additional trails are in the construction process. For more information you can contact Western New York Mountain Biking Association for maps and information.

Horseback riding

There are no horse trails on this area, but old logging roads may be used. DO NOT horseback ride on bike trails, this will damage trail tread! Elkdale State Forest has established horse trails that are open to the public and is located between the villages of Little Valley and Salamanca on route 353 in Cattaraugus county.

Camping

Camping - There are no formal camp sites on this property, however 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.

Geo-caching

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.

History

In the 1930s the Nine Mile State Forest unit 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 of the Nine Mile Forest Road. Parts of this old road system provide public access to the forest, but some sections are not opened to vehicles. Historically there were public roads from Townsend Hollow and Snow Brook Road, but today the only vehicle access is from Vandalia on the North Nine Mile Road. Townsend Hollow access is via foot traffic only and there is no parking provided.

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 later were plugged by NYS DEC. When these wells were first found they leaked natural gas and could be lit with a match.

Wildlife

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 wildlife that can be observed includes 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!

Timber Management

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 allowing 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 are in almost all cases 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 and 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.

Tips for Using State Forests

Please be sure to review these simple guidelines before visiting Nine Mile State Forest.

Directions

From Olean take Rt 417 west. At Vandalia turn onto North Nine Mile Road and drive north to Nine Mile State forest.

Important Numbers

Allegany DEC Forestry Office (M-F 8:30-4 p.m.): 716-372-0645

Emergencies, Search and Rescue, Wildfire, or State Land Rules and Regulation enforcement call a Forest Ranger:

Martin Flanagan - (716)771-7191
Bob Rogers - (716)771-7199
Wayne Krulish - (716)771-7156
Or you can reach the Forest Ranger general dispatch number at: 1(877) 457-5680

General Emergencies: 911