Skinner Hill State Forest
Skinner Hill State Forest (Chenango Reforestation Area #8), located at the junction of the towns of Sherburne, Columbus, and New Berlin, is an oddly shaped forest located on old farm lands once plowed by its namesake, the Skinner family. Across its 1,666 acres you will find a mixture of Spruce and Pine Plantations, natural growing Hardwoods, open fields, and wetland areas. This diverse landscape provides the ideal opportunity for wildlife habitat, making it popular spot for hunting and wildlife viewing. White-tailed deer, Wild Turkey, and Ruffed Grouse are among a few of the game species to be found here.
Two trout classified streams pass through the forest, both tributaries of Great Brook. In some places, beavers have taken up residence along these streams, creating small ponds and pools. Waterfowl can be found in abundance in these locations. For those people who enjoy trapping, these wetland areas are home to an abundance of small mammals.
Across the length of the forest are remnants of the history of the area. Stone walls, old stone bridges, foundations, and even a Root Cellar used to hide escaped slaves during the time of the Underground Railroad can be found on the property.
Due to its elongated shape, Skinner Hill is also an easily accessible forest to reach, with many local roads crisscrossing the property. A variety of old logging roads, as well as newer skid roads provide pathways for hiking, hunting experience or, for a change of pace, bring your dog out for a walk! Parking can be found along the roadside, or on one of several forest access roads maintained by DEC.
Skinner 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.
From State Highway 8 in the Village of New Berlin, head west at the traffic light on King Settlement Road (County Route 29). After passing a pig farm, a State Forest parking area is on your right.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4017
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 607-316-3291
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850