Long Pond State Forest
Located in the Town of Smithville, the 3,254 acre Long Pond State Forest (Chenango Reforestation Area #35) offers a wide variety of habitats and recreational opportunities. Over a thousand acres were purchased in the 1930's, using funds from the Hewitt Amendment. Old farm fields were reforested to white pine and spruce. Native species of American beech, black cherry, white ash, sugar and red maple and eastern hemlock can be found. An additional 2200 acres was purchased in 1963 from the Tarbell estate.
The Tarbell family ownership dated back to 1875, when Eli Tarbell purchased 500 acres around Long Pond. A water driven sawmill and dam was erected on the Pond. Hemlock from the surrounding forest was sawn there. In 1903, the Tarbells began purchasing dairy cows. During the 1940' s and 1950's, the farm flourished as a model of efficiency. The farm employed 35 people, maintained 445 purebred Guernsey cows and bottled 2800 quarts of milk daily. The "Golden Guernsey" milk was shipped by rail to many of New York City's finest restaurants.
Hikers and cross-country skiers, as well as equestrians and snowmobilers, are welcome on the trails. The trails are identified on the map and on the ground by horse trail signs and numbers. You can expect to encounter interesting terrain with many different plants and wildlife species.
The focal point of recreation in the Forest is Long Pond. The 117 acre pond offers year round fishing opportunities. A former State record Tiger musky was caught in the Pond in 1983. A boat launching ramp and parking area are located off State Route 41 at the northeastern corner of the Pond. Strong Brook and Pond Brook are trout streams that course through the forest. The 28 acre glacial Round Pond also has fish to tempt anglers.
Ten campsites are located around Long Pond. Each site has a fireplace, parking pad and access to a community latrine. Camping is permitted at designated sites only. A day use area, with parking and picnic tables is located adjacent to the dam. Explore the ruins of the Tarbell homestead during your visit.
Four miles of NYS snowmobile corridor trail passes through the forest. Several steel girded bridges have been constructed to enhance trail grooming. In addition, hunting for big and small game is a popular pursuit on the property.
Several unique habitats are found on the Forest. Over 400 acres of grass and brush land occur. These areas contain breeding populations of two species of sparrows listed as special concern because their natural habitat is shrinking statewide. The Henslow sparrow and grasshopper sparrow both require large areas of grassland to survive. Management efforts continue to perpetuate this habitat. The bluebird, New York's official State bird, is also listed as a species of special concern because of habitat loss. Visitors will notice over two dozen strategically placed bluebird houses. These houses have attracted several nesting pairs.
A mature hardwood-hemlock forest is located south of Long Pond. This area, interspersed with wetlands, constitutes an area over 300 acres excluded from timber harvesting. The area contains large specimens of hemlock, some over 125 years old. Within this area, the threatened red-shouldered hawk nests. The birds utilize the wetlands when hunting for food and the mature hardwood forest for nesting. The hawk migrates back to the forest in early April, and can be seen soaring over Long Pond.
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 access the Long Pond State Forest, take State Highway 41 East from Cincinnatus, or West from Greene. The fishing access site is located on this route.
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