Beaver Meadow State Forest
Beaver Meadow State Forest, also known as Chenango Reforestation Areas #s 2 and 25, consists of 5,816 acres located between State highway 80 and County highway 16 in the towns of Otselic and Smyrna. Beaver Meadow State Forest was first established in 1933 as the Chenango Experimental Forest. Its creation came about through a cooperative agreement formed between the New York State Conservation Department and the United States Forest Service. Using the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC's) for much of the labor, a wide variety of studies were conducted to determine the effects of planting trees on the abandoned farm lands. These studies examined the growth rates of a wide variety of different tree species so as to determine which species were most suitable for planting on state forests. Other studies examined different planting methods, rainfall runoff before and after planting trees on abandoned farm lands, and the effectiveness of various chemical treatments to kill undesirable hardwood trees. A weir dam and road to access it were built by the CCC. The dam was built for watershed studies; it also contained a small meteorological station. In 1939, people came from as far away as Yale University in Connecticut to see the Chenango Experimental Forest.
By 1941, most of the work on the experimental forest had stopped as people and government financial resources were directed towards America's involvement in World War II. When the federal government withdrew it's involvement in the Chenango Experimental Forest, the land area became known as Beaver Meadow State Forest.
Today this forest is managed for wildlife habitat, timber production, outdoor recreation, and watershed protection. The tree planting efforts on this area continued through the 1950's and 60's creating a forest that is a mixture of native and planted hardwoods and conifer trees. A wide variety of species are present on this forest, due in part to the experiments of planting different kinds of trees. Timber harvesting, managed by DEC foresters, commonly occurs on this area. Forested areas are periodically thinned to grow large, high quality trees while other areas of maturing plantations are being gradually harvested and converted to native hardwood and conifer tree species
Popular recreation activities on this forest include hunting, trapping, snowmobiling and nature observation. Common wildlife one might encounter include deer, red squirrels, turkey, grouse, beaver, and a wide variety of song birds, owls and hawks. Coyotes, though rarely seen, also live on the forest.
Information about hunting for antlerless deer at Beaver Meadows through DEC's Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) is avaiable.
Beaver Meadows State Forest is part of the Northern Chenango Highlands 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.
This state forest can be accessed by a variety of dirt roads maintained by the local towns. The primary road used for all season access is the Reit Road which traverses north from Beaver Meadow on County Rt. 16 to Route 80. The remaining dirt roads through this forest are mostly not plowed so automobile access is limited during the winter.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4036
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies): 607-316-3291
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850