Raecher Hill 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 Great Valley and Humphrey, Cattaraugus County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 9T
- Map: View Raecher Hill State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (193 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Raecher Hill State Forest is a small state forest consisting of 832 acres. The most common recreational use of this area is hunting. There are no designated trails but hiking is allowed throughout the property.
In the 1930s Raecher Hill State Forest was the site of work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the depression. Projects included the planting of thousands of pine, larch and spruce trees in the open areas on the property. This property was mostly farm land at one time.
Hunting and Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed on Raecher Hill State Forest. Please abide by all game laws in effect. This property is managed to provide a variety of habitats to support many common game species.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are two designated camp sites on the property: one is off Raecher Hill Road and one off the forest access road. Both are marked with a yellow "Camp Here" markers (shown in the picture at right) and are identified on the map at the top of the page.
At-large backcountry camping is also 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.
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 roads may be used for skiing and snowshoeing.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
This area has been managed to provide young forest habitat. The unit contains a mix of sizes and species of trees and is managed to provide a variety of habitat types. Wildlife that can be observed on the unit include white-tailed deer, grouse, turkey and bear.
From Interstate 86, take exit 21 and head north on Parkway Drive. At the three way intersection, veer right to continue heading north on Route 219 (Wildwood Ave). After 0.7 miles, turn left to continue on Route 219 (Central Ave). After 3.5 miles, turn right onto Route 67 (Peth Road). Continue for 2.9 miles, then turn left onto Raecher Road which heads into the state forest.
There are no designated parking areas on the unit but roadside parking is available. The state forest is located at 42.224974°N, 78.592337°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 Raecher Hill 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. 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 also managed to provide recreational opportunities and watershed protection
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 removing the conifer overstory and allowing the hardwood seedlings that usually exist in these stands to grow to be a new hardwood forest. There have been some major conifer removal projects on this property since much of it was old field planted to conifer trees. These projects will continue until these sites have been harvested and converted to native hardwood trees.
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 supply of food and cover for wildlife, and a source of future crop trees. Some stands 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.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
State Lands and Facilities
- Golden Hill State Forest
- Nine Mile State Forest
- Windfall Creek State Forest
- Rock City and McCarty Hill State Forests
Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Ellicottville and Salamanca.
Gas, dining opportunities and food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Ellicottville, Franklinville 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.