Winona State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-round.
- Fee: Free.
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 6 Lowville Office: 315-376-3521 email Region 6 mailbox
- Backcountry Emergency (Search, Rescue & Forest Fire): 518-891-0235 (24 hours a day) or dial 911
- State Land Law Enforcement: 518-897-1300
- Fishing, Hunting & Trapping Law Enforcement: 315-785-2231
- Location: Jefferson County, Town of Lorraine and Oswego County, Town of Boylston
- Wildlife Management Unit: 6K,6N
The 9,233-acre Winona State Forest is located on the boundary of southern Jefferson County, Town of Lorraine and northern Oswego County, Town of Boylston. It is east of interstate #81, west of Littlejohn Wildlife Management Area and is on the western edge of the Tug Hill Plateau.
This state forest offers many recreational opportunities, including: hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, dog sledding, birdwatching and horseback riding. The unit contains 22.3 miles of cross-country ski trails, 8.7 miles of snowmobile trails (some designated New York State Snowmobile Corridor Trails), 9.9 miles forest roads, and 3 parking lots
Around 1980, DEC staff and local cross country skiing enthusiasts met to discuss a trail system, including one for cross country ski racing. This was logical since the Tug Hill Plateau has the biggest snowfall east of the Rockies and has reliable snow cover throughout the winter. The trails became known as the Tug Hill Tourathon Trails. Each year since then, new trails have been added.
Much volunteer work went into this project and DEC Operations crews, with their heavy equipment and manpower, has made these trails what they are today.
Over the past years, many different groups have enjoyed the use of these trails, but this has made for some difficulty in how to designate which trails would be used and for what purpose. The Western Edge Recreational Association, (now Winona Forest Recreation Association WFRA), was developed around 1995 to bring together all the users: skiers, snowmobilers, dog sledders, horse owners, hunters, bikers, and orienteering people.
Winona State Forest has three designated campsites on Bargy Road. All designated primitive campsites have yellow and black "Camp Here" marker. General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
- West side of Bargy Road (north) (N43.710085 W75.973625)
- East side of Bargy Road (middle) (N43.696342 W75.975833)
- West side of Bargy Road (south) (N43.695571 W75.976279)
|Bargy (main)||3.1||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile, Car|
|Tucker||2.6||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile, Car|
|Hessel||2.0||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile, Car|
|Hawley||1.5||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile, Car|
|Wart||0.7||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile, Car|
|Adsit||1.0||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile|
|Gold Spike||1.2||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile|
|Bacus Bend||2.5||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile|
|Dog Leg||1.2||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile|
|Dog Leg Ext.||0.4||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog, snowmobile|
|Bronze Trail||1.5||hike, ski, bike, sled dog, snowmobile|
|Tucker Ext Trail||1.2||hike, ski, sled dog, snowmobile|
|Musher Ridge||1.2||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Pussycat||0.5||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Tail||0.5||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Skinner Creek||0.8||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Frank's Fancy||1.9||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Tie||0.3||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Shady Shuttle||2.2||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Jimmy's Jaunt||0.6||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Hiscock||1.7||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Ted's Turn||0.6||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Sally's Ride||0.4||hike, ski, bike, horse, sled dog|
|Bill's Belly||2.0||hike, ski, bike, sled dog|
|Raspberry (Larrabee) Trail||1.9||hike, ski, bike, sled dog|
|Alice's Alley||2.5||hike, ski, bike, sled dog|
|Winona Way||5.0||hike, ski, bike, sled dog|
|Sycopath||0.9||hike, ski, snowmobile|
|Stone Wall||0.7||hike, ski, bike|
|Stream View||0.6||hike, ski, bike|
The Winona Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) buildings are the center for many winter activities. An original CCC building is used (by permit only) as headquarters for events. A pole barn houses grooming equipment and serves as a warming shed at events. Each of the three parking areas has accessible parking and accessible privies. There is also an accessible horse mounting platform at the parking lot (CCC building) on Co. Route 90. General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.
To get to this forest, from interstate 81, take Mannsville exit 39, then take county route 90 east through Mannsville. About 2.75 miles out of Mannsville, county route 90 meets Dixon Road and turns to the right. This route bears left at the intersection with Wart Road and then right at Brown Road. The historical CCC camp is another mile down the road.
Winona State Forest has three plowed parking areas. Each parking lot has an informational kiosk and an accessible privy. The CCC parking is for access from the north at the junction of Bargy Road and Co. Route 90. Bargy Parking is at the junction of Bargy Road and Co. Rt. 13. Wart Road parking is at the junction of Center Road and Wart Road. All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum
- CCC Parking: (N43.712803, W75.970619)
- Bargy Road Parking: (N43.660918, W75.964946)
- Wart Road Parking: (N43.657014, W75.999102)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.
How We Manage Winona Forest
This reforestation land was once farmland, and during the late 1930's and 1940's, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted evergreen trees, built roads, ponds, and buildings on this land. As the trees have grown to maturity, foresters have marked many stands for wood products, including red pine poles going overseas, pulpwood to local paper mills, black cherry to Harden Furniture and chips for energy.
In 2005, DEC began developing a unit management plan (UMP) for Winona State Forest. A UMP must be completed before significant new recreational facilities, such as trails, camping sites, and parking areas can be constructed. The plans involve an extensive analysis of the natural features of an area and the ability of the land to accommodate public use. The DEC has primary responsibility for developing management plans for the State-owned lands.
The Winona Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) (PDF 3.27 MB) was finalized in late 2013. Anyone with questions about the UMP or how the state forest is managed should feel free to contact Edwin Sykes, Planning Team Leader, in writing, by phone or by fax at: 7327 State Route 812, Lowville, New York 13367, Phone: (315) 376-2513 or 376-3521, FAX: (315) 376-8059. E-Mail comments can be sent to: Region 6 UMP mail box.
Volunteer Groups and Nearby Attractions
Winona Forest Recreation Association (Leaves the DEC website.)
Jefferson County (Leaves the DEC website.)