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Crary Mills State Forest

bicycleprimitive campinghikingcross-country skisnowshoetrappingicon key

Crary Mills State Forest covers 587 acres located in the town of Potsdam in central St. Lawrence County. This forest consists of 3 parcels which were purchased in 1962 and 1963 for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation, and watershed protection. The topography is variable with upland areas supporting a mixture of northern hardwood, hemlock, and white pine forests.

Featured Activities



General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. There are two short trails and hiking is permitted anywhere on this forest.

Primitive Camping

primitave 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. There are no designated camp sites on this property.

Hunting & Trapping


General information on Hunting and General information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations. Hunting and Trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted.

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country ski

General information on Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on trails and in Crary Mills forest. No trails are groomed.

Mountain Biking


General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations. Mountain Biking is allowed on the trails in Crary Mills State Forest.

40 inch diameter bur oak
40 inch diameter Bur Oak


There are two short access trails located on the Leary and Parmenter roads in the town of Potsdam. The property does provide large undeveloped areas well suited for hunting, hiking, and nature viewing.

Leary Road Access (44.593277° N, 75.046905° W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)

Parmenter Road Access (44.599336°N, 75.026093°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)

Rules Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

All users of Crary Mills State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follows all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Don't Move Firewood. The insects it carries could kill the forests you love.

How We Manage Crary Mills State Forest

a white pine plantation after thinning
A white pine plantation after thinning

DEC is developing a unit management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. Crary Mills is one of 13 State Forests and one Conservation Easement combined into the area called St. Lawrence Foothills Management Unit. 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 please email us: Region 6 UMP mail box.

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.
Much of the area is former agricultural land which has reverted to forest. Open fields were planted with a variety of species including white and Scotch pines, white spruce, larch, and an experimental planting of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta). A total of over 199,000 trees were planted on 210 acres of this state forest between 1963 and 1972.
Several plantations on this state forest underwent a first improvement thinning in 2008 which removed diseased and malformed trees and reduced overcrowding. The long term goal of our forest management is to produce forests which are healthy, vigorous, and sustainable for the future.

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Lodging, dining, gas, and food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Potsdam, Canton, Hannawa Falls.

St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website) and Franklin County Chamber of Commerce (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.

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