Morrow Mountain State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 7 Sherburne Office: (607)-674-4017 M-F 8 am- 4 pm, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Georgetown and Nelson, Madison County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 7M
- Map: View Morrow Mountain State Forest Map || View State Map in PDF (150 kB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Morrow Mountain State Forest occupies 1,290 acres and is a primitive forest with few amenities. Morrow Mountain rises to 2,142 and is the highest elevation in Madison County. The only trail in the forest is a snowmobile trail that uses the Public Forest Access Road. It weaves from the northwestern portion of the forest to the southeastern portion of the forest. Although there are no formal hiking trails, hiking is allowed anywhere on the property unless posted otherwise.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
At-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
General information on accessible recreation (#34035) includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.
There is trail off the southern end of Parker Hill Road that allows motorized access for people with mobility impairments. A permit is required through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD).
The forest is located north of State Route 80 and is easily accessed from Fire tower, Parker Hill , Morrow and Mack Roads.
MAPPWD parking lot on Parker Hill Road (42.793133°N, 75.738041°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.
All users of Morrow Mountain must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.
How We Manage Morrow Mountain State Forest
Morrow Mountain State Forest is part of the Tioughnioga 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. If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us email@example.com.
On a brisk autumn day the landscape is ablaze in reds and yellows from the changing leaves of sugar maple. Maples have long been valued for their sweet sap, blonde wood and spreading shade on streets, parks and village greens throughout New York State. But their brilliant fall color has earned them a distinction as one of the most beautiful trees in North America. In Native American legend, spirit hunters in the sky slew the constellation Great Bear in autumn and the bear's blood, dripping on the forest, changed many leaves to red. Some leaves turned yellow by the fat that splattered out of the kettle as the hunters cooked the meat. Science has revealed that color change is caused by chemical changes in the tree as summer turns to winter. Sugar maple is one of the most common trees on Morrow Mountain State Forest, and a visitor can enjoy its brilliance on any day of the year. But to experience sugar maple at its most spectacular, consider a visit in October when the sun is bright, the temperature is brisk and autumn colors are at their peak.
Georgetown was one of the original Chenango Twenty Towns and was patented to Thomas Ludlow Jr. of New York City in 1792. It was formed from DeRuyter and named Georgetown only after the State Legislature denied a local petition to name it Washington. In his 1880 history of Chenango and Madison Counties, James Smith reports that when Georgetown was first settled it was one unbroken forest: "...the bights of her hills crowned with large straight hemlock, spreading beech and sweeps of sugar maple; swamps gloomy with magnificent pine-ancient monarch of the forest, reigning with undisputed sway over the mass of tangled struggling foliage beneath them."
Soon much of the original forest that Smith described was cut for lumber or cleared for farms earning Georgetown the name "Slab City" for the rounded side of a log removed during milling. Farms produced potatoes, butter, hops, cheese and apples and sheep provided wool for local looms. By the late 19th century however, urbanization, westward expansion and an increasing demand for industrial labor reconfigured New York's rural landscape. Between 1870 and 1930 the population of Georgetown declined 52% from 1,423 to 684 residents. In the absence of plowing and grazing, pastures and fields began the slow but steady return to native forest. Between 1933-42, the Civilian Conservation Corp recruits planted trees, built roads and erected a 67' fire tower and observation cabin atop Morrow Mountain. The tower was dismantled in the 1970s and replaced with a 100' communication tower to support a New York State Police radio network.
Nearby Amenities and Attractions
Madison County Tourism Webpage (Leaves DEC website)
Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Cazenovia.
Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.
Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.
Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.