Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Fire-Fall State Forest

Fire-Fall State Forest locator map

hikingprimitive campinghuntingtrappingdirections

icon key

Fire-Fall State Forest covers 1,570 acres and consists of 4 parcels which were purchased between 1950 and 1965 for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation, and watershed protection. The southeastern portion of this area shares a common boundary with nearby Trout Lake State Forest.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

The .26-mile Big Maple hiking trail is located in the northern portion of the forest which leads south from St. Lawrence County Route 19. The property also provides large undeveloped areas well suited for hunting, hiking and nature viewing.

Camping

primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

At-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Image of a river running through Fire-Fall State Forest
Fire Fall

Driving Directions

From Edwards: Head northwest on Trout Lake St. (Route 72), after 2.03-miles bear left at the fork with Rocky Road. Continue on Route 72 and Route 19 and the property will be on the left.

  • Big Maple trail head (44.380763°N, 75.285886°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC maps)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Fire-Fall State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

Mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and horseback riding are all permitted on the property; however; there are no maintained trails for these activities.

How We Manage Fire-Fall State Forest

DEC is developing a unit management plan (UMP) which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us information.r6@dec.ny.gov.

The topography is very hilly with thin soils and rocky exposed ridge tops predominating. Better quality upland sites support a mixture of northern hardwood, hemlock, and white pine forests. Lower quality upland sites are dominated by red oak, eastern hophornbeam, hickories, and other species adapted to droughty and nutrient poor soils. Pine and spruce plantations were established on what were formerly farm fields and pastures. Flatter ground supports open wetlands and shrub swamps, which gradually transition to swamp hardwoods and white cedar in seasonal flooded areas.

Image of a charred Hemlock stump
Charred Hemlock Stump

Fire-Fall State Forest gets its name from the many destructive forest fires that raged throughout this area in the early 1900s. Newspapers reported fires in this vicinity in 1903, 1908, 1914, 1921, and 1939. The fire-fall was a region northwest of the village of Edwards, roughly north of Talcville, east of Chub Lake, and west of Trout Lake, which experienced repeated severe fires that devastated the forests and left the landscape denuded. Most of this area was later purchased by the state for reforestation and became Wolf Lake and Fire-Fall State Forests.

Much of the area was burned so severely that the root systems of the trees and the organic matter in the soil were consumed, which caused the already thin soils to erode and left exposed bedrock. Now, 100 years later, these forests still contain large areas which are in the early stages of forest succession. Fire-Fall State Forest contains a stand of over 600 acres which is composed primarily of bedrock covered with lichens, shadbush, and scattered hardwood saplings and poletimber sized trees. Charred stumps of eastern hemlock and other conifers remind visitors of what happened here many years ago.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Information regarding where to find amenities

  • Gas, lodging, dining opportunities, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Edwards, South Edwards, Harrisville and Gouverneur.

St. Lawrence County tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.