Independence River State Forest
State Reforestation Area Lewis #35
This 673 acre state forest is named for the swift current trout stream that cascades through the northern sector of the area. Much of the forest rests on deep, sandy soils and is comprised of quality hardwoods such as hard maple and black cherry, and impressive native white pine, interspersed with planted red, white and scotch pines. DEC's professional foresters conduct carefully controlled timber improvement harvests on regular intervals to help maintain the health and vigor of the forest.
The most outstanding recreational pursuit on this state forest and adjoining forest preserve lands is the Otter Creek Horse Trail System which was inaugurated in the 1980's and has been continually improved and expanded since that time. Other outdoor recreational pastimes enjoyed here include trout fishing on the Independence River, white-tailed deer and small game hunting, and woodland hiking and biking. Vehicular access to the area is provided by 0.7 miles of graveled forest roads and 4 parking lots. (The special regulations about camping in Otter Creek State Forest do not apply to the Otter Creek Horse Trail assembly area, which is located on Independence River State Forest.)
From Lowville, take County Route 36 (Number Four Road) 3.5 miles to County Route 39 (Pine Grove Road) turn left and go 5 miles south to Chases Lake Road. Turn left and proceed 3.25 miles.