Hunts Pond State Forest
Acquired during the 1960's, Hunts Pond State Forest is the most recently established State Forest in Chenango County. Its 1,397 acres traverse the valley of a feeder stream to the Unadilla River, giving way to a very diverse landscape of open fields, softwood plantations, hardwood forests and beaver meadows.
In 2011 the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation transferred all the lands formerly administered as Hunts Pond State Park to DEC to be managed as part of the Hunts Pond State Forest. This portion of the forest contains Hunts Pond from which the forest derives its name. The pond area is open to fishing and car top boat launching. Camping around the perimeter of the pond is available with a free permit from the DEC Sherburne office from May 1 to September 30. See Hunts Pond Camping pamphlet (PDF) (2 pages, 1.1 mB) for more information.
When driving through Hunt's Pond State Forest, one will see a number of open grassy fields. These fields are maintained as such to provide habitat for numerous wildlife species that inhabit grass and open lands. Other animals rely upon the shelter of wooded areas and use neighboring open areas in which to graze, forage or hunt. White-tailed deer, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, bluebirds and many varieties of hawks are commonly seen throughout the forest.
Another special characteristic of Hunt's Pond State Forest is the relatively young softwood plantations that dot the land. These were planted during the late 1960's, after the State acquired the land. Observing the differing growth rates of European larch, red pine and Norway spruce, one will discover how different tree species adapt to the soils in which they are planted.
Various unmarked trails and logging lanes criss-cross the forest; they can be used for hiking and cross country skiing. Views of the Unadilla river valley are spectacular from the large open field on the western part of the forest. For those who want to see a beaver family hard at work, be sure to visit the beaver meadow in the south central area, just off of Buttermilk Falls Road.
Whether you are a hunter, hiker, camper, skier or just a general outdoor enthusiast, Hunt's Pond State Forest is sure to provide the passive recreational opportunity you are looking for!
Hunts Pond State Forest is part of the Between Rivers Unit Management Plan which is currently 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. Camping is prohibited in the former Hunts Pond State Park area of the forest.
- No permanent structures should be established, including tree stands or blinds.
From the North: Take N.Y. State Rte. 8 south, through the village of New Berlin. Continue on Rte. 8 for 4.1 miles and take a right onto Buttermilk Falls Rd. (there is a sign pointing to Hunt's Pond State Park at the intersection). The State forest begins less than one mile up the road. Take a right onto Hunt's Pond Rd. to continue up to the northern end of the forest as well as to the State park.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4017
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies): 607-316-3291
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850