DeRuyter State Forest
DeRuyter State Forest, Madison Reforestation Area #9, occupies a narrow ridge-top with a deep cut channel that feeds the Middle Branch of the Tioughnioga Creek.
The 1875 Atlas of Madison County reveals a well established population of farmers in and around what is today DeRuyter State Forest. Cheese factories, sawmills and tanneries operated throughout the town and The New York, Oswego & Midland and the Cazenovia & Canastota Railroads linked distant markets with local farm and manufactured goods. During the late 19th century DeRuyter was a wide open landscape of farms, and fields and one could look west from Stanton Road and see the shimmering light reflected from DeRuyter Reservoir, built in 1863 as a feeder to the Erie Canal. Soon, however, industrialization and heeds to the cry of "go west young man" drew people away from rural New York and the pastures and cropland of DeRuyter that once fueled the local economy were slowly reclaimed by native forest. Using funds authorized from the State Reforestation Act of 1929, the Conservation Department purchased land from, among others, Charles Boyd, Fred Hurt, Anna Granville and George Congers to create DeRuyter State Forest. Beginning in 1935, recruits from the Civilian Conservation Corp Camp S-103, located in DeRuyter, planted hundreds of acres of red pine and Norway spruce on the forest. Today these planted forests mask ,but don't completely hide, a rich history of settlement, abandonment and regrowth.
The Boyds, Hurts and Granvilles, along with their herds of cattle and sheep, have moved on; but today DeRuyter's regrown forest is home to a different group of residents. In early spring hawks nesting in planted pine fiercely protect their young while turkey toms pump up and show off in search of a mate. A buck deer bounds off through a thicket of witch hazel while a flock of cedar waxwings perch in a cherry tree to share in its juicy fruit. The low croak of a raven, a grouse drumming on a stump and a chorus of screaming spring peepers remind us that these seemingly lonely woods are alive with activity. A public snowmobile trail passes through the property and the North County Trail corsses the forest with a parking header located on East Lake Road.
DeRuyter State Forest is part of the Tioughnioga 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.
The 972 acre forest is located just west of State Route 13 in the Town of DeRuyter and is easily accessed from Fairbanks, Stanton and Tromp Roads.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4036
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement and Emergencies): 315-886-1669
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850