Balsam Creek State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 6 Lowville Office (M-F 8:00am - 4:30pm), (315) 376-3521, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Town of Croghan, Lewis County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 6J
- Map: View Balsam Creek State Forest Map || View Map In PDF (242 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
This 559-acre state forest, located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, is bisected by the 150 foot deep Balsam Creek valley. Balsam Creek and its tributary to the north, Cold Creek, are well known spring-fed trout streams.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
The1.53-mile Briar Hill Public Forest Access Road (PFAR) is unpaved and used as a multi-use trail that crosses the property from the southwest corner to the northeast corner. This road is not plowed in the winter to provide opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
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.
General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations
Balsam Creek is a well-known spring fed trout stream. Access to Balsam Creek is off of Briar Hill PFAR.
North-Central New York Fishing provides information on fishing in the area and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.
Hunting & Trapping
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
From Croghan, take Belfort Road (Lewis County Route 10) to Belfort turn right onto Long Pond Road. Two miles out take Fish Creek Road, proceed 1 mile.
There are 3 parking areas on this property. All 3 are located on the unpaved Briar Hill Road, accessed from Fish Creek Road, which runs along the entire southern boundary of the state forest.
- South Briar Hill Parking Lot (43.93779924°N, 75.28012788°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Middle Briar Hill Parking Lot (43.94201943°N, 75.2775006°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- North Briar Hill Parking Lot (43.94809351°N, 75.26398554°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
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.
Mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are allowed on the property; however, there are no trails on this property currently maintained for these activities.
How We Manage Balsam Creek State Forest State Forest
DEC has developed a Draft Westward Waters Unit Management Plan (UMP) which describes the proposed management activities for this lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.
If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at email@example.com.
In the 1930's the Conservation Department planted pine trees in the open fields near Fish Creek Road. Today these trees have grown to mature plantations of white pine, red pine and Norway spruce sawtimber. DEC forestry staff regularly conduct carefully controlled timber sales on this forest, maintaining a vigorous forest while at the same time providing the forest industry with critical raw materials. The hardwood forests on the property abound with valuable high quality hard maple and black cherry sawtimber and veneer.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
DEC Lands & Facilities
- Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest
- Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest
- Beartown State Forest
- Croghan Tract Conservation Easement
- Oswegatchie Conservation Easement
Gas, dining opportunities, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Carthage, Croghan, Harrisville, and Lowville
Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Carthage, Harrisville, Lowville, and Watertown.
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.