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Perkins Pond State Forest

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Field Notes

Perkins Pond State Forest locator map

This forest consists of conifer plantations intermixed with native hardwoods and conifers spread across a hilltop on an area approximately two miles wide and three miles long. The plantation conifer species include: red pine, Norway and white spruce, larch and scotch pine. Common native hardwoods or conifers found on the forest include: sugar and red maple, white ash, black cherry and hemlock. This forest is managed for a diversity of forest conditions which provide habitat for a wide array of wildlife species. Some of the common wildlife species found on the forest include: deer, turkey, red squirrels, and a variety of forest song birds.

Perkins Pond State Forest is suitable for a variety of recreational activities. Perkins Pond ,which is privately owned, is visible from County route 42. The outlet from this pond flows downstream through a scenic gorge. The Plank Road follows this gorge from its intersection with Rte. 42 near Perkins Pond and leads to the hamlet of South Otselic. This road is an unplowed, narrow dirt road which is closed to motor vehicles west of the intersection with Purse Road. Visitors who wish to view the gorge can best see it by hiking along the Plank Road.

Perhaps the best time to enjoy the gorge is on a hot summer day. As one enters the gorge, they are enveloped by the cool and refreshing, moist air. The west portion of the gorge is in private ownership but is visible from the hiking trail on the abandoned road. Access to this area is from the hamlet of South Otselic at the Plank Road trail head. Parking is also available at the intersection with Rte. 42 for accessing the upper end of the gorge on the State forest. To view this end of the gorge, one needs to bushwhack a short distance off the road.

A primitive camp site with a lean-to was recently constructed in the northeast portion of the forest between Mud Lane and the Plank Road. The lean-to is in a remote area of hardwoods on the forest. It will provide shelter for long-distance hikers on the Finger Lakes Trail as well as others who desire solitude and a remote camping experience. Work on the site is currently incomplete, pending the construction of an access trail, fire ring and latrine.

Scarlet Tanager in Perkins Pond State Forest

During the fall, deer hunting is a popular activity on the forest; and in winter the Plank Road is used as part of the snowmobile corridor trail system.

Perkins Pond State Forest is part of the Pharsalia Woods 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.

State Forest Regulations

Anyone enjoying the use of this State Forest must observe the following rules which protect them and the forest environment:

  1. Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying of refuse is prohibited.
  2. If you build a fire, do so with care and use wood from dead and downed trees only. Never leave a fire unattended.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. No permanent structures should be established, including tree stands or blinds.

Directions

From the hamlet of South Otselic take the Plank Road south to where it intersects with County route 42. The state forest is on either side of the road where these two roads intersect. One can also proceed southwest on Rt. 26 from the hamlet of South Otselic. At the intersection of County routes 26 and 42, take 42 east directly into the heart of the state forest.

Important Numbers

State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4036

Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 607-316-3291

DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850

Emergencies: 911