46-Corners Management Area
46-Corners Management Unit includes 8 state forests in the northwest corner of Oneida County, a small portion in the southeast corner of Oswego County and a small portion in southwest Lewis County. The total land area is 18,032 acres and includes:
- Big Brook State Forest - Oneida #7
- Cobb Brook State Forest - Oneida #2
- Fall Brook State Forest - Oneida #3
- Florence Hill State Forest - Oneida #11
- Furnace Creek State Forest - Oneida #10
- Mad River State Forest - Oneida #12 and #14
- Swancott Hill State Forest - Oneida-Lewis #1
- Tri-County State Forest - Oneida #9
The properties in 46-Corners Management Unit, like many of New York's state forests, was purchased in the 1930's and 1940's. The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 set forth the legislation which authorized the Conservation Department to acquire land by gift or purchase for reforestation purposes. Much of the unit was farm land too difficult to maintain and subsequently abandoned. The remoteness, poor soils and high average annual snowfall were all factors contributing to the harsh conditions. The state purchased the land for the purpose of reforestation, watershed protection, production of timber and for recreation.
The Tug Hill Plateau
The Management Unit is located on the southern edge of the Tug Hill Plateau. Logging, farming, hunting and fishing have shaped Tug Hill since the early 1800's. Approximately 12 percent of Tug Hill is publicly owned forestland. Large, privately owned parcels of land have allowed the core forest of Tug Hill to remain intact and relatively free from development.
Tug Hill's greatest asset is its abundant snowfall. The elevation and position with respect to Lake Ontario results in an average annual snowfall in excess of 200 inches - the heaviest snowfall east of the Rockies. It is no coincidence that the greatest snowfall also occurs across the highest elevations to the lee side of the lake. The higher topography tends to enhance snowfall rates by providing additional lift as the air crosses the region. Winter recreation activities are a big draw to this area. Snowmobile enthusiasts and cross-country skiers frequent the 46-Corners Unit. The users benefit from the 19.6 miles of unplowed town roads and snowmobile trails that are located here.
Hunters, trappers and anglers find a great resource in the 46 Corners Management Unit. The Unit landscape is a checker-board of State Forest Lands. The forests are partly composed of American beech, black cherry, and serviceberry which provides hard and soft mast for wildlife. Deer hunting is popular in the area. Much of the Unit consists of conifer plantations which provide winter cover for many wildlife species. The Unit contains over 1,400 acres of wetlands, current beaver ponds and old beaver meadows. The abundant wetland resource means plenty of opportunity for trappers in pursuit of beaver, mink, otter, and fisher.
There are 55 miles of trout water tributaries on the Unit. Anglers enjoy Mad River, Furnace Creek, and Florence Creek which flow through the Unit. These creeks feed into the stocked streams of the East Branch and West Branch of Fish Creek and may contain brown and brook trout.
As a legacy of past farming attempts, the Unit is bisected by many stone fences and hedgerows and contains many foundations and wells. These historical resources leave evidence of old property boundaries and homesteads. The large branching trees of the hedgerows also provide great nesting and brooding habitats for interior forest bird species. In addition, there are four ponds on the Unit. Active goshawk and osprey nests have been spotted. Bird watchers and naturalists enjoy the viewing potential on the unit. People camp on some of the most scenic areas. The four ponds on the unit have become very popular recreation spots. Johnny Smith Pond, 60 acres in size, has some of the highest use. As of yet, there is no hiking trail network developed on the area.
The State Forests of 46 Corners Management Unit are mostly located in the towns of Florence and Annsville, north of Camden and Taberg on NY state routes 13 and 69. Most of the county and town roads in that northwest corner of Oneida County can access the various State Forests.