Whaupaunaucau State Forest
"Land of the Marten"
Though the marten has gone the way of the early settlers who used to inhabit this hill, Whaupaunaucau State Forest's 1,188 acres offer a wide array of other flora and fauna. Part of the Chenangadilla Unit Management Plan, Chenango County Reforestation Area #31 is located between Routes 12 and 29, in the township of North Norwich. Purchased with Hewitt Amendment funds in the 1930's, the State Forest is a blend of red pine, Scotch pine and Norway spruce plantations with natural hardwoods consisting of red oak, American beech, sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, white ash and eastern hemlock. Various forest products have been removed during the years.
Update for 2013- The DEC has installed a gate at Whaupaunaucau State Forest to keep motorized vehicles off of the trails. The gate will be opened for the hunting season in the fall.
Hunting opportunities abound. The varied habitats sustain populations of turkey, deer, squirrels and numerous song birds. A lean-to and fireplace is located along trail 20, and camping is permitted for up to three nights without a permit. Jeffrey's pond, a 10 acre impoundment, is stocked with brown trout yearly. A fishing access parking lot is located near the pond. Boating is permissible, but there is no boat launching site on the pond.
A thirteen mile cross country ski trail is located on the forest. The trails wind through both natural forests and plantations. One can imagine a marten lurking in the shadows of a hemlock glade. The skier may see white-tailed deer browsing on a carpet of white ash seedlings under the red pine and sugar maple tops of a recent timber sale. Enjoy the snow-laden spruce boughs or the turkey tracks around a beech tree. Most trails are designed for skiers with a beginner or intermediate skill level.
Whaupaunaucau State Forest is part of the Between Rivers Unit Management Plan which currently is in draft format. 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.
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.
Skiing Etiquette and Safety
Ski touring, like any other sport, is much more enjoyable for everyone if all participants follow certain rules of etiquette.
- Stay on the trails. Trails are laid out for skier's safety and convenience. Leaving the trail may cause skiers to encounter unknown terrain hazards and become lost.
- Passing on the flat. Pass slower skiers on flat terrain. A faster skier should indicate his desire to pass by calling "track." The slower skier should yield by stepping out of the track to the right where possible.
- Passing on a hill. Try not to pass on a downhill. Save it for the flat where the slower skier can maneuver easily.
- Meeting on a hill. The skier going downhill has the right of way, since he is moving faster and may have less control. Do not descend a hill until the trail is clear.
- Move off the trail as quickly as possible after a fall. This will prevent possible collisions and allow other skiers to pass. Fill sit marks before proceeding.
For safe, enjoyable skiing, please be mindful of the following recommendations:
- Beware of hypothermia which occurs when your body loses heat faster than it is produced. In a few hours, death can result even in temperatures up to 50 degrees F. It is critical to quickly get a hypothermic person warm and dry.
- Do not ski alone. Long tours should be made with others for safety.
- Be prepared for the unexpected emergency. Carry warm clothing, water, quick energy food and matches.
- Be sure someone knows your itinerary and expected length of stay. Please sign in/out on trail registers for your own safety.
Take State Highway 12 north of Norwich to State Highway 320. Take 320, which becomes King Settlement Road (County Route 29) to Post Road. Turn left onto Post Road, and then drive up the hill to the State Forest.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4017
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 607-316-3291
DEC State Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850