Lyon Brook State Forest
The Lyon Brook State Forest (Chenango Reforestation Area #29) is located within both the Towns of Oxford and Guilford in Chenango County. The forest is named after the nearby Lyon Brook, which is a tributary of the Chenango River. Although Lyon Brook itself is not located on the forest property, two of its tributaries flow through the forest.
Access to the forest is primarily gained by traveling from County Route 32, to Lyon Brook Road, to Shumway Road, to the Public Forest Access Road. At the intersection of Route 32 and Lyon Brook Road is an historic marker describing a railroad bridge that previously crossed over Lyon Brook. Some remnants of the bridge supports are still visible as you pass through the "notch" on Lyon Brook Road.
The Public Forest Access Road is a good quality, shaled-surface road, which may be traveled with any passenger car. The 1.1 mile road is gated and there is no outlet. The gate is kept open from spring until early winter (approximately April 15 to December 15), and as long as the weather is not too severe during the deer hunting season to allow access. This road is not plowed in the winter, and is often traveled by cross country skiers and snowmobilers, so the gate is closed to prevent motor vehicle access. There are several areas where there is enough room to pull-off and park a car, and the end of the road has a turn-around area, with room to park several cars. One section of this road is relatively steep with some sharp turns, and drivers should be alert for deer, as they are commonly encountered along the road during the summer months.
The Lyon Brook State Forest covers a total of 528 acres. The highest elevation on the forest is approximately 1600 feet and is located in the far West section of the forest. The lowest elevation is about 1200 feet and is found in the Northeast corner of the forest, at the point where the tributary of Lyon brook flows past the North boundary of the forest. The forest has a mixture of well-drained and poorly-drained ground. If you are walking through this forest, you should be prepared to encounter areas of wet ground. One of the unique geological features of this forest is the outcropping of large rocks near the higher elevations along the Northern boundary.
The forest cover types on Lyon Brook State Forest include pure Northern hardwoods (beech, birch, maple, oak, cherry, ash, and basswood), and mixtures of Northern hardwoods with several species of conifers. The conifers include red pine, white pine, Norway spruce, hemlock, and Scotch pine. On this forest, all of the red pine, Scotch pine, and Norway spruce trees where planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC's) in the late 1930's. For example, the Norway spruce that is located in the Northeast section of the forest was planted by the CCC's in 1937. Approximately 50% of the acreage of this forest has a forest cover type of pure Northern hardwoods while the other 50% is a mixture of hardwoods and conifers.
The mammals that are common residents of the Lyon Brook State Forest include deer, raccoons, squirrels, porcupines, chipmunks, and opossum. Coyotes and foxes are also present, but less common. There is also a large variety of birds, including songbirds and hawks. Herons and other waterfowl are not usually present on the forest. One unique attribute of this forest seems to be its relatively large population of woodpeckers. It is quite common to walk along the Public Forest Access Road and hear numerous woodpeckers sounding on trees, especially during the springtime. The pileated woodpecker is often seen on this forest. Deer and turkey hunting are common recreational activities.
Lyon Brook State Forest is part of the Between Rivers Unit Management Plan, which currently is in draft format. 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.
Lyon Brook State Forest is bordered by privately owned forest lands and agricultural lands. Nearby municipalities include the village of Oxford, the village of Guilford, and the city of Norwich. To gain access to the Forest, take County Road 32 (Black River Road) South from Norwich or North from Oxford. Turn on Lyon Brook Road, and follow Lyon Brook Road East to the entrance of the Forest.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4017
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 607-6648-6247
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850