Greenwood Creek State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-Round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 6 sub-office in Potsdam (M-F 8 AM - 4:30 PM) (315) 265-3090 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Forest Rangers: (518) 408-5805 or 911
- Location: Town of Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County.
- Wildlife Management Unit: 6C
- Map: View Greenwood Creek State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (52 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Greenwood Creek State Forest covers 1,022 acres. The topography is very hilly with thin soils and rocky exposed ridge tops predominating. Better quality upland sites support a mixture of northern hardwood, hemlock, and white pine forests. Lower quality upland sites are dominated by red oak, eastern hophornbeam, and other species adapted to droughty and nutrient poor soils. Pine and spruce plantations were established on what were formerly farm fields and pastures. Flatter ground supports open wetlands and shrub swamps, which gradually transition to swamp hardwoods in seasonal flooded areas.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations. There are several access trails and roads located throughout the forest that are open for hiking, cross country skiing, and mountain biking.
The Star Lake Crew of the St. Lawrence County Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) has completed the construction and maintenance on the 1.8-mile nature loop at Greenwood Creek State Forest. The nature trail was constructed in 1981 by the Camp Fine YCC, and winds it way along Greenwood Creek, past the falls, through hardwood and softwood forests that are managed by the Department.
In constructing a nature tail it is important to include as many different aspects of a forest as possible, and with the Greenwood Creek Nature Trail, the YCC laid out the trail through mixed hardwood forests (at the beginning of the trail) into stands of red pine.
The nature tail includes many points of interest that are described on signposts positioned throughout the 1.8-mile route. A bubbling encased spring, built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and restored in 1982 by the current YCC, provides a respite for the thirsty hiker along the trail. The trail then meanders through a red pine plantation into hardwoods, then skirts the border of a hardwood forest and red pine stand showing the distinct characteristics of each forest type. The trail then drops into the lower elevations of the forest before it again climbs into the hardwoods, where it follows rock ridges along which raspberry, blueberry, and shadberry (also known as juneberry and serviceberry) patches are found. From the ridges, the trail descends into a spruce-fir wetland area, following a small brook for approximately 200 yards before the trail completes the 1.8 mile loop, and ends back at the picnic area.
For the less adventurous picnicker, Greenwood Creek State Forest offers a one quarter mile nature trail that leads to an observation platform overlooking a wetland habitat through which Greenwood Creek flows. For the ambitious brook trout angler, this section of the creek offers an evening meal at the picnic area.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to regulations.
There are several designated campsites in the forest. At-large primitive 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.
Hunting & Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed in accordance with all State laws and regulations.
General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules and regulations.
There are numerous creeks and streams for fishing on the forest.
General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips and links to ruled and regulations.
All trails on Greenwood Creek State Forest are open to mountain biking. No trails are specifically maintained for mountain biking.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations. All trails on Greenwood Creek are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. No trails are groomed for cross-country skiing.
This scenic spot has been used by local persons for as long as can be remembered. Around 1954, the Conservation Department began building fireplaces and setting out picnic tables until it reached its present stage of development. Due to the limited size of the picnic area, its use must be restricted to picnicking only.
This forest can be accessed from the Kansas Road, the Cold Spring Brook Public Forest Access Road and St. Lawrence County Route 23 in the town of Pitcairn.
Big Pine Trail trailhead (44.240404°N, 75.230964°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website).
Hill and Dale Access trailhead (44.217366°N, 75.270141°W) Google Map (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.
Don't Move Firewood. The insects it carries could kill the forests you love.
How We Manage Greenwood Creek State Forest
DEC is developing a management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. Greenwood Creek State Forest is one of 15 State Forests, 9 Detached Forest Preserve Parcels and 2 Conservation Easements combined into the area called St. Lawrence Rock Ridge Management Unit. In addition to forestry management objectives, the Unit Management Plan will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries, and much more. DEC is planning for input for development of this unit management plan. Any individual or group who would like to provide comments on the future management of this unit can contact NYS DEC, 6739 US Highway 11, Potsdam NY, 13676 or email: Region 6 UMP mailbox.
State Forests were created to provide for a future supply of timber, watershed protection, and lands for public recreation.
The first forestry practice applied to this land was the planting of evergreen trees in the abandoned farm fields and meadows. In 1935, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crews planted 336,000 tree seedlings on 261 acres. In the spring of 1954, Conservation Department crews planted an additional 45,800 seedlings on 42 acres. In 1959, the first harvest of 1,460 Christmas trees occurred. Most of these were white spruce which the purchaser shipped to Florida. Most of the trees planted in 1935 have been commercially thinned for pulpwood three times. In addition to the pulpwood sales, some utility poles and small sawtimber have been removed. These are the stands of red pine such as are growing in the picnic area. The future of these red pine stands depends on the quality of the individual trees remaining, and the condition of the "new" forest now growing under the pine. At some future date, when this "new" forest is ready to take over the site, the entire pine overstory will be harvested for poles, sawtimber, veneer, etc.
The hardwood stands have been cut for firewood, pulpwood, and sawtimber.
Several state forests in southwestern St. Lawrence County were severely damaged by an intense windstorm which occurred on July 15, 1995. This storm came to be known locally as the 1995 Microburst. The storm affected a wide area stretching from Lake Ontario across northern New York State to the central portion of the Adirondack Park. Winds gusted as high as 100 miles per hour. Damage ranged from broken tree limbs and tops to areas of 10 or more acres that were entirely blown down. Additional information on the 1995 Adirondack Derecho (leaves DEC website). Additional information about Derechos (leaves DEC website).
Four state forests in the town of Pitcairn suffered heavy wind damage: California Road, Cold Spring Brook, Greenwood Creek, and Toothaker Creek State Forests. Over the next 3 years, a total of 1,100 acres of storm damaged timber were harvested, yielding 1.4 million board feet of sawlogs and more than $280,000 in revenue. Many of the harvested areas have become dense stands of hardwood seedlings and saplings. These areas now provide early successional habitat preferred by several species of birds such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, and warblers.
Nearby Areas and Attractions
- Wolf Lake State Forest
- Public Fishing Rights Access
- Cranberry Lake Campground
- Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest
- St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website)
- Lewis County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website)
Numerous guide books and map are available with information on the lands, water, 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.