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Fire-Fall State Forest

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Fire-Fall State Forest locator map

Fire-Fall State Forest covers 1,570 acres located in the town of Hermon in southwestern St. Lawrence County.

The 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 - There are no designated camp sites on this property. Backcountry camping is allowed. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. Camping is prohibited at any location within 150 feet from water, roads or trails.

Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted. Traps may not be set on public road right of ways. Body gripping traps set on land must be at least 100 feet from public trails.

Geo-caching is allowed although caches must be marked with the owner's contact information and may not be placed in dangerous or ecologically sensitive locations. See the February 2005 article in Conservationist Magazine for more information on geo-caching.

Field Notes

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 river running through Fire-Fall State Forest
Fire Fall

Driving Directions

This forest can be accessed from St. Lawrence County Route 19 in the town of Hermon.

Important Phone Numbers

Potsdam DEC Office (M-F 8 am-4:30 pm)

DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: (518) 408-5850

Emergencies: 911

Tips for Using State Forests

Anyone enjoying this property must observe rules which protect both the users and the forest environment.

History

This forest 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.

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.

Image of a charred Hemlock stump
Charred Hemlock Stump