Brasher/Bombay State Forests
Reforestation Areas St Lawrence #1,5,6,7,10,17 and Franklin #2,4
Brasher and Bombay State Forests comprise a large reforestation area complex of 22,242 acres located near the border of St. Lawrence and Franklin counties in the towns of Brasher, Norfolk, Bombay, and Moira.
During the early 1800's, settlement began in small communities such as Brasher Falls, Brasher Center, Brasher Iron Works, and Helena. Most of the early settlers were farmers, however, an iron foundry was begun in 1835 in the hamlet of Brasher Iron Works. The local wetlands contained slowly forming "bog ore" which was unlike the typical iron ore found in rocks and hills. The availability of iron ore also encouraged the development of local manufacturers. The Kennehan Agricultural Works in Brasher Falls was a well known maker of plows and other farm implements from the 1870's until the 1960's.
Much of the land acquired by the state during the 1930's and 1940's was farm or pasture land in poor condition. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a major part in reforesting these areas. Over 6,500 acres of open land was planted with pine, spruce, and larch plantations. These areas now comprise a large and important part of the state forests. The CCC also constructed 125 water holes to aid in forest fire suppression. Some of the buildings constructed in the CCC era are still in use at the DEC maintenance facility in Brasher Falls.
The state forests are managed to provide a steady and renewable supply of wood products such as firewood, pulpwood, posts, poles, and sawtimber. Much of the land that was in poor condition 70 years ago has recovered and has grown into young hardwood forests containing maple, oak, beech, and elm.
Another important component of the Brasher and Bombay State Forests is the large areas of ponds, marshes, swamp hardwoods, and other wetlands. Over 4,500 acres of wetlands provide important habitat for birds, fish, amphibians, and protected plants.
There are many recreational opportunities available on the Brasher and Bombay State Forests. Hunting for deer, grouse, and other small game occurs widely throughout the area. There are also fishing access points on both the St. Regis and Deer rivers.
Many people make use of the extensive trail and road system that exists through the forest. Trails are marked with signs that tell what activities they may be used for, such as hiking, cross country skiing, horseback riding, or snowmobiling. The Walter F. Pratt Memorial Forest (part of Brasher State Forest) provides a popular area for picnics and camping. A 10-acre pond was created by the CCC in the 1930's by building a dam on Redwater Creek. An association of local citizens was formed to maintain the area and promote responsible use.
Walter Pratt Memorial Park Camping and Picnic Accessibility
The Walter Pratt Memorial Park features two accessible campsites designed for use with camper trailers. Each site has an accessible picnic table and a shared privy. There are also two accessible picnic sites and a privy located in the day use section of the park, the picnic tables overlook the impoundment at Redwater Dam. The park is open from mid-May to October, for camping and picnicking.
Full listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations.
To Brasher and Bombay State Forests
Brasher and Bombay State Forests are accessible from county Routes 50, 53, and 55, and the Bush and Vice Roads in the town of Brasher, and Cold Springs Road in the town of Bombay.
To Walter Pratt Memorial Park
Travel to North Lawrence on State Route #11C. The picnic and camping site is approximately two miles north of North Lawrence on County Route 55, Yoummell Road.