Melondy Hill State Forest
Melondy Hill State Forests - Chenango Reforestation Area #9, 15 and Broome Reforestation Area #2, are comprised of 5,417 acres of contiguous state forests lands located in the Southeastern part of Chenango County and Northeastern part of Broome County. These forests are located on the hilltops just south of the I-88 interstate corridor and the Susquehanna River valley near Bainbridge and Afton. Often visitors of Oquaga Creek State Park will include excursions to or through these state forests in their area stays.
The Melondy Hill State forests attained their name from early settlers on these foot hills of the Catskills. In the early 1800's much of the land was cleared for agriculture. Most of the areas not put into agriculture were heavily logged back in the early 20th century. As with many state forests, they now offer a wide array of other flora and fauna to see, hear or observe. Purchased with Hewitt Amendment funds in the 1930's, the State Forests are a blend of planted forests of red pine, white pine, Scotch pine and Norway spruce, and natural forest stands consisting mostly of red maple, American beech, sugar maple, red oak, black cherry, white ash, white pine and eastern hemlock. Various forest products have been removed during the years. Forest management objectives are to maintain a variety of habitats from young forests to old forests, and evergreens to hardwoods.
Variety of habitat is just what you will find when exploring these forests. It is easy to find a lush, heavily shaded, hemlock grove along a small brook providing a wonderful place to rest, cool oneself on a hot day and just relax in a clean peaceful setting. In the Western section of the forests, one can find a deep ravine with moss laded ledges surround by old forests, where a peaceful solitude can be experienced. There are hills to climb, rock outcrops to explore, and varied wetlands to see. In a fall visit one might be awe struck by a brilliant blaze of orange from a winterberry laden swamp.
These forests are easy to access as many town roads pass through the area. The proposed management plan proposes to have the NYS Snowmobile Corridor Trail #2 pass East-West through the Northern portion of these forests. Hunting and hiking opportunities abound. The varied habitats sustain populations of turkey, deer, squirrels grouse, numerous song birds, vertebrates and invertebrates. A few bears have inhabited the area's forests in recent years. Evidence of their presence in the area is seen frequently.
Melondy Hill State Forest is part of the Treaty Line 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. A copy of the Treaty Line UMP is available at the Lands and Forests Office in Sherburne.
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.
To get to the State Forest, take State Route 41 South from Afton. After crossing the Susquehanna River, take County Route 39 North to Melondy Hill Road. Follow this road to the State Forest entrance.
State Forest Office (M-F am-4 pm): 607-674-4017
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies): 607-648-6247
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850