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Elkdale State Forest

View Elkdale State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (185 kb) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

Elkdale State Forest locator map

Elkdale State Forest, also known as Cattaraugus Reforestation Area #23, is a small state forest of 422 acres. This state forest is located in Cattaraugus County in the Town of Little Valley. The most common recreational uses of this area are hunting, hiking, snowmobiling and horseback riding.

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 such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey. They are managed to provide recreational opportunities and watershed protection.

Recreation

Trails

The Pat McGee Trail, which is a Rails-to-Trails access, crosses this property but is not part of the state forest. It does however provide hiking or horse access to the Elkdale Forest Road and other trails on the property. The Pat McGee Trail is also the access for snowmobile use in the winter months. Please see the offsite links on the right hand side of the page for additional information on parking, maps and trail rules.

Horse Back Riding

people enjoying horseback riding on one of the trails

Horse trails on the the property are under an Adopt-a-Natural Resource Agreement with the Crosspatch riding group. These trails provide approximately five miles of riding opportunities on the property and connect to the Pat McGee Trail system. The trails ultimately connect Route 353 and Fourth Street and they have various loops to ride. This allows for multiple options for distance and time spent on the trail. The trail also allows for a stop for picnics near a pond that provides hitching rails, tables and grills for public use. Access to the trails are from the parking area on Fourth street, the parking area on Route 353, the Pat McGee Trail and the Little Valley Riders grounds adjacent to Elkdale State Forest. Please see map links at the top of the page for more information on trail locations and parking areas.

Trails are planned to minimize impacts to the forest environment and to not conflict with other management objectives while providing a pleasant and interesting ride.

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 Dunkirk Forestry Office at 716-363-2052.

Hiking

The horse trail winds through lovely woodlands.
The horse trail has lovely scenery.

All horse trails and roads can be used for hiking.

Trails are planned to minimize impacts to the forest environment and to not conflict with other management objectives while providing a pleasant and interesting ride.

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 Dunkirk Forestry Office at 716-363-2052.

Hunting and Fishing

Hunting is allowed on Elkdale State Forest. Terrain can be rugged in some areas so walking up and down hills is part of the hunting experience. A parking lot exists on Route 353 for hunters and other users. Another smaller parking area is on Fourth Street. Forest management has provided a variety of habitats to hunt and many trails that can be used for foot access. Be aware that horses may be on the trails during hunting season.

Fishing is not a major activity on this unit but Little Valley Creek, which runs through the state forest, may provide fishing in the spring.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiles cross this forest via the Pat McGee Trail and one section of snowmobile trail crosses the property which also serves as part of the horse trail. Be aware that the snowmobile trail does travel off state property--be respectful of landowners when snowmobiling and please stay on the trail. For more information on snowmobile trails in the area visit the New York State Snowmobile Association's web site in the links on the right had side of the page.

Camping

the horse trail in fall, with hitching posts trailside
The horse trail in fall with trailside hitching posts

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 (phone number below). There are no designated sites on this state forest.

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. See the February 2005 article in Conservationist Magazine for more information on geo-caching.

History

This location is used as a base for the Operations Unit of DEC. This is the building complex that you see located on the grounds off f Route 353. This property appears to be mostly old farm land--a house was located where the Operations Facility is today. Historically, two railroad lines crossed this property. One of these can be still be seen and is a section of the Rails-to-Trails corridor, the other has filled in with brush and is barely noticeable today.

Timber Management

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 to maturity. A trail passes through the plantation near the pond so this stand will be retained as long as possible to allow for recreational use. When this stand reaches the end of its life span and becomes a hazard to trail users it will be converted to hardwood.

A picnic area along the horse trail has charcoal grills and picnic tables.
A picnic area along the horse trail has charcoal
grills and picnic tables.

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 source of future crop trees. Some stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth, but are not in almost all cases. 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. Some stands on this property were damaged by the Forest Tent caterpillar. This lead to the death of what were vigorous stands of sugar maple trees. The dead trees were later salvaged for lumber and some of the trails created for this salvage operation are now used as horse trails.

State Forest Regulations

Elkdale State Forest offers a variety of recreational opportunities. State lands belong to all of us. Help care for this area and enhance the enjoyment of it for yourself and those who follow by observing these simple guidelines:

- What you carry in - carry out. Leave the area cleaner than you found it. Burying of refuse is prohibited.

- If you are planning to camp for more than three nights or have a group of ten or more, obtain a permit from a forest ranger. Do not camp within 150 feet of water, roads or trails.

- If you build a fire, do so with care and use wood from dead and down trees only.

-All motorized vehicles are restricted to access roads posted as motor vehicle trails. Off-road use of motorized vehicles, such as ATVs, trail bikes and four-wheel drives, is not allowed.

- No permanent structures shall be established, including tree stands or blinds.

Important Numbers

Forestry Office - 716-372-0645 between the hours of 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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