South Hill State Forest
- Primitive Camping
- Cross County Skiing
- Horseback Riding
- Hunting, Wildlife Management Unit 7P
- Nature Photography/Observation
South Hill State Forest, 1314 acres in size, is located in the town of Guilford in Chenango County. The forest is named after a ridge, with a high elevation of 1,760 feet, that runs in a northwest - southeast direction across the northern portion of the forest. There is a multiple use trail and a snowmobile trail on the state forest.
South Hill State forest is known an attractive and convenient place for horseback riding.There are no designated horse trails on the forest property, but many people ride on the town roads which cross through the forest. The Department is considering the designation of a horse trail loop that would include a combination of town roads and forest trails. Other recreational activities that are common on this forest include hunting (primarily for deer and turkey) and cross-country skiing. The nearest municipalities are the villages of Bainbridge and Sidney to the south, and the village of Guilford to the north.
The mammals that are common residents of the South Hill State Forest include: deer, raccoons, squirrels, porcupines, chipmunks and opossum. Coyotes and foxes are also present but less common. There is also a large variety of birds, including songbirds and hawks. You can often hear the calls of goshawks and owls during the summer. Turkeys are also abundant on this forest, especially in areas where beech and oak trees are prevalent
An atlas of Chenango County, published in 1875, shows several homes that were located on what is now the South Hill State Forest. These homes belonged to: W. Penn, N. Morgan, W. Hovey, I. Bennet and H. Evans. There was also a school house located at the intersection of Charles Wicks Road and Hohreiter Road.
South Hill State Forest is bordered primarily by privately owned agricultural lands.The highest elevation on the forest is approximately 1,760 feet and is located on the "south hill ridge", near the northern border of the forest, east of Parker Smith Hill Road. The lowest elevation is about 1400 feet and is found in the southwest corner of the forest. Most of the forest is located on well-drained ground, due in part to the relatively high elevation of the forest property in comparison to the surrounding properties. The largest section of poorly drained ground is located in the 30 acre northern hardwood-hemlock stand, northwest of parker Smith Hill Road.
Few streams are found on this forest. One stream originates in the 30 acre northern hardwood-hemlock stand and is a tributary to Yaleville Brook, which then flows into the Susquehanna River. Another stream originates southeast of the intersection of Charles Wicks Road and Hohreiter Road. It flows south along Hohreiter Road and is a tributary of the Unadilla River. The portions of these streams that run through the state forest do not support trout or any type of game fish.
The forest cover types on the South Hill State Forest include pure northern hardwoods (beech, birch, maple, oak, cherry, ash and basswood) and mixtures of northern hardwoods with several species of conifers. The conifers include: red pine, white pine, Norway spruce and hemlock. All of the red pine and Norway spruce trees where planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC's) in the late 1930's. Approximately 45% of the acreage of the forest has a forest cover type of pure northern hardwoods; 55% is a mixture of hardwoods and conifers.
South Hill 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.
Access to the forest is primarily gained by traveling on County Route 38, between the villages of Guilford and Bainbridge, and then tuning onto either Parker Smith Road or Hohreiter Road. Access to the forest from Route 8 is also possible by getting onto Junction Road near the village of East Guilford.
The town roads on the forest, including Charles Wicks Road and the southern portion of Hohreiter Road, are good quality, shaled-surface roads which may be traveled with any passenger car. The northern portions of both Parker Smith Road and Hohreiter Road are narrow and have relatively steep grades. These road sections are more difficult to travel and they are not plowed during the winter. There is a short section of Public Forest Access Road located on the south side of Charles Wicks Road. This road is approximately 1/3 of a mile in length, and there is no outlet. This road was not designed for passenger car travel, therefore the entrance to the road is gated. However, the roadway may be used for several forms of recreation, including horseback riding and cross-country skiing. There are no true parking areas located on the forest, but there are many places to park vehicles along the sides of the town roads.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4017
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 607-648-6247
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850