Oak Ridge State Forest
Oak Ridge State Forest, also known as Chenango Reforestation Area #13, is a 576 acre State Forest located in the Town of Bainbridge, Chenango County. Purchased with Hewitt Amendment funds in the 1930's, the State Forest is a blend of man planted forests of: red pine, larch and Norway spruce, and natural forest stands consisting mostly of: red maple, red, chestnut and white oaks, American beech, white ash, hickories, white pine and eastern hemlock. The plantations were mostly planted by Civil Conservation Corps in the 1930's.
Oak Ridge State Forest is located northeast of the village of Afton. Stumptown Road bisects and provides access to the area. It is a hilltop forest, except on the eastern side, where there is a 300± foot deep ravine that mother nature carved with a small stream flowing off the hilltop. The most common visitors to the forests are hunter and woodland hikers.
It is easy to find oaks and their associated species in the forest, as well as the wildlife that are sustained with the acorn food source: turkey, squirrels, deer, and small mammals. This oak forest was well stocked with American Chestnut before the chestnut blight passed through the area in the early part of the 1900's. Sprouts from the root systems of those long gone chestnut trees are still common; however, few, if any, reach nut bearing stage before the blight again takes its toll.
Oak Ridge State Forest is part of the Chenango Trail 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.
Take State Highway 206 west from Bainbridge. While still within the village limits, take Mt. Pleasant Rd. south to Stumptown Rd. Follow Stumptown Rd. to the forest.
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