Ludlow Creek State Forest
The Ludlow Creek State Forest is located within the towns of Smithville and McDonough in Chenango County. The forest is named after the outlet creek of Lake Ludlow which runs through the central section of the forest.
Ludlow Creek State Forest is a fairly solid, contiguous block of state-owned land, covering a total of 3,197 acres. Town roads that cross through the forest include Tucker, Hammerle, Ludlow and Hogan Roads. Tucker Road was originally built in the 1930's as a truck trail by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC's). The CCC's also built the bridge on this road spanning Ludlow Creek, locally known as the High Bridge. Tucker Road is now owned and maintained by the town of Smithville. The Department of Environmental Conservation maintains one section of the Public Forest Access Road between Tucker Road and Engaard Road. The majority of Engaard Road through the State forest has been abandoned and is no longer maintained. The Ludlow Creek State Forest lies at the midpoint of a triangle formed by the villages of Oxford, Smithville Flats, and McDonough. State Route 220 and County Route 3 form a loop between these villages and around the forest.
All of the town roads on the forest are good quality, gravel-surfaced roads, which may be traveled with any passenger car. Most of these roads are plowed during the winter; however, some sections may be left unplowed. There is one designated parking area on the forest located near the corner of Tucker Road and the Public Forest Access Road. However, there are many additional places to park vehicles along the sides of the town roads, as well as on old log decks adjacent to the roads.
The Ludlow Creek State Forest has relatively gentle topography. The highest elevation on the forest is approximately 1,670 feet and is located on a peak between the Public Forest Access Road and Engaard Road.. The lowest elevation is about 1,300 feet and is found along Ludlow Creek at its southernmost point on the forest. Most of the slopes on the forest are gentle to moderate. The surface water on the eastern half of the forest flows into Ludlow Creek and its tributaries, while the surface water on the western half of the forest flows into the tributaries of Kedron Brook. . The tributaries to Kedron Brook in the forest do not support trout or other game fish. Ludlow Creek does support both native brook trout and stocked brown trout, as well as several other fish species
The Ludlow Creek State Forest generally has four different types of forest cover: pure northern hardwoods, mixtures of northern hardwoods & native conifers, plantations of non-native conifers, and wetlands. These forest types comprise 32%, 22%, 43%, and 3% of the land area, respectively. One of the objectives of the forest management practices on this forest, as detailed in the McDonough Unit Management Plan, is to convert the plantations to native species and use uneven-aged techniques, with extended cutting intervals to replicate old-growth forest conditions. Once implemented, individual timber stands will only be disturbed with timber harvests once every 50 years. This forest also contains wetlands which will be protected from disturbances. Corbin Swamp in the northeast, Spruce Swamp in the south-central, and several wetlands in the western section of the forest, cover more than 90 acres of the forest.
Some of the most scenic areas on this state forest can be found along Ludlow Creek and in the areas surrounding the wetlands. The Ludlow Creek lean-to was dedicated in the summer of 2000 and is located along the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail just south of the High Bridge. This is a high-quality shelter located in a scenic area, overlooking the creek. A one-mile length of the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail crosses through the forest and is popular with both through-hikers and day hikers.
Ludlow Creek State Forest is bordered by a mix of privately owned woodlands and agricultural lands. The most popular recreational activities on the forest are hunting and hiking. Winter activities include cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as snowmobiling on the sections of abandoned and unplowed roads.
Ludlow Creek State Forest is part of the McDonough 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.
From State Highway 220, east of McDonough, turn south on Chestnut St., then right onto Shorer's Woods Road, then left onto Hammerle Road. Two miles on Hammerle will bring you to the northwest extremity of 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