Mariposa State Forest
The Mariposa State Forest, also known as Chenango-Madison Reforestation Areas # 1 and 2, are located in the northwest corner of Chenango County and straddle the boundary between Chenango, Madison and Cortland counties. This state forest area consists of 3,002 acres along the county line between the west edge of Chenango and Madison counties and County Route 16.
The first pioneer settlements in this area began in 1784 when Deacon and Jesse Catlin created Catlin Settlement in what is now the hamlet of Lincklaen. The forested hills in this area were cleared for crops and pasture land. The settlers discovered that the hills in this area were well suited for sheep grazing, so sheep were common livestock on the early farms. After the Civil War, these agricultural lands were converted to dairy farms as the demand for dairy products increased.
Many of the dairy farms went out of business during the 1930's due to the poor economy and less productive soils found on the hilltops. Beginning in 1932, these lands were acquired for the establishment of Mariposa State Forest.
This state forest is located on an area of rolling hilltops that are separated by a series of streams which flow south to the Otselic River. The forest consists of a mixture of native hardwoods with areas of conifer plantations that were mostly established by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1932 and 1940.
Common native tree species found in this area are sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, white ash, quaking aspen and hemlock. The conifer plantations were established on former agricultural crop or pasture land and consist mostly of planted red pine, Norway spruce and white pine.
Mariposa State Forest is managed by DEC foresters for wildlife habitat, timber production, outdoor recreation and watershed protection. DEC foresters use sustainable forestry practices to ensure that the land is protected for future generations while also providing for current uses. 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.
Some of the common wildlife species one might encounter on the forest include: deer, turkey, grouse, woodcock, beaver, coyotes, red squirrels, mink, songbirds, pileated woodpeckers, hawks and owls.
The Finger Lakes Hiking Trail (FLT) traverses across most of the Mariposa State Forest and is identified in the woods by white trail markers. A lean-to is located along the section of the FLT west of Paradise Hill Road. A parking area for access to the FLT is located off of Chenango County Route 13, along Bamberry Road.
Anyone enjoying the use of Mariposa 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.
Mariposa State Forest can be accessed from the south by following State Route 26 to either Chenango County Routes 12 or 13 (Mariposa Road). Both of these routes travel north crossing the state forest and then to the Madison county line into the town of DeRuyter. A variety of unplowed, secondary dirt town roads provide seasonal access to most areas of the forest.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4017
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 315-886-1669
DEC State Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850