Otselic State Forest
Otselic State Forest, also known as Chenango Reforestation Area # 21, consists of 1,043 acres located on a hill top between State highway 26 and County highway 16 in the Town of Otselic in the northwestern corner of Chenango County.
Otselic State Forest is a mixture of red pine and Norway spruce plantations and native hardwoods. The pine and spruce plantations were mostly established in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The trees were planted on abandoned farm lands which were purchased for the creation of this state forest.
This area is managed for wildlife habitat, timber production, outdoor recreation and watershed protection. This forested area is managed by DEC foresters for the sustainable production of timber. Trees are periodically harvested to be used for the production of hardwood and softwood lumber, utility poles, paper, log cabins and furniture. The management of this forest creates a variety of forest habitat conditions necessary for a diversity of wildlife. These conditions range from areas of young sapling size trees growing in recently cut areas to other areas of mature forest which will eventually develop into old growth.
The hill on which Otselic State Forest is located is known by a variety of names including: Truman Hill, Raider Hill and Partridge Ridge. A portion of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) traverses Otselic State Forest. From the Otselic River the trail climbs 500 feet to reach the top of this hill, an elevation of 1,780 feet . The trail then proceeds south through the forest climbing to an elevation of 1,940 feet before exiting the forest as it crosses the Warner Road. The FLT is marked by white trail markers and is for foot travel only.
Some of the popular recreational uses on this forest are hiking and autumn deer hunting. Snowmobilers also tour the forest in the winter on the unplowed Public Forest Access Road. Whether you choose to visit the forest for hiking, hunting, snowmobiling or auto touring, Otselic State Forest offers an enjoyable location to pursue your adventure.
Otselic State Forest is part of the Northern Chenango Highlands 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.
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.
Otselic State Forest is best accessed by County route 16, turning onto the Stage Road to the Warner Road. The forest may also be accessed by the Warner Road from Rt. 26, however this requires traveling up a steep hill on the Warner Road which is often in rough condition. As you approach the forest, you will see mature Norway spruce and then the State Forest identification sign. A turn onto the DEC Public Forest Access Road (also known as Circle Rd.) will lead you through the forest for 3.3 miles to the end of the road.
Both the Public Forest Access Road and the Warner Road are dirt roads which are not plowed through the state forest in the winter. The west side of the forest is accessible during all seasons by the Raider Hill Road.
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