Whitacker Swamp State Forest
Whitacker Swamp State Forest covers 812 acres and is located in the Town of Sanford in Broome County. Whitacker Swamp was acquired in two separate sections from two different owners in 1964 and 1979. A 2.2 mile multiple use trail runs through the forest and connects the two main access points. The trail is open for hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding and mountain biking. The trail is also designated for ATV use by people with mobility impairment disabilities, under permit. The trail passes by Whitacker Swamp and two smaller ponds. These water bodies are good places to see beaver, geese, ducks, herons and other wetland wildlife species. The forest is named after the 14-acre wetland located in the southwestern corner of the forest.
The forest contains a wide array of different cover types. The types include Northern Hardwood, Northern Hardwood-Hemlock, Northern Hardwood-White Pine, oak, Red pine, Norway spruce and Japanese larch. The elevation of the forest ranges from 1350 to 1750 feet above sea level . A large, 154-acre stand of red oak dominates the upland, north of the swamp. This stand was the site of prescribed fire experiments in the early 1980's to learn more about fire's effect on oak regeneration. Whitacker Swamp State Forest is part of the Broome State Forests Unit Management Plan. A Unit Management Plan (UMP) guides the DEC's land management activities on several geographically related forests for a ten-year period, although a number of goals and objectives in the plan focus on a much longer time period. Each UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use and forest management. The plan schedules forest product sales for some stands, while protecting other areas which have special scenic, riparian or wildlife values.
Anyone enjoying the use of this State Forest must observe the following rules which protect them and the forest environment:
- Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying of refuse is prohibited.
- If you build a fire, do so with care and use wood from dead and downed trees only. Never leave a fire unattended.
- All motorized vehicles are restricted to access roads posted as motor vehicle trails. Off road use of motorized vehicles, such as ATVs, trail bikes and four-wheel drives is not allowed, except where specifically permitted by signs, posted notice or by DEC permit.
- Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of water, roads or trail.
- No permanent structures should be established, including tree stands or blinds.
Access to the forest is gained by traveling south from the village of Deposit on Oquaga Lake Road. The Public Forest Access Road entrance begins on the left side of the road about a half mile from Deposit. A second access point is off of the next left turn, Gillette Road. Both entrances to the forest have parking areas.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4036
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 607-648-6247
DEC State Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850