Beaver Creek State Forest
The Beaver Creek State Forest is also known as Madison Reforestation Areas # 11 and # 12. This state forest, totaling 3,484 acres, makes up the north section of the Brookfield Trail System which is located in southeast Madison County. This highly acclaimed horse and snowmobile trail system has over 100 miles of trails through three state forests (Charles E. Baker State Forest, Brookfield Railroad State Forest and Beaver Creek State Forest) that collectively make up the Brookfield management unit.
Beaver Creek passes through the heart of this State Forest, peacefully meandering through a large swamp that gives way to wooded hillsides of cedar, balsam fir and native hardwood forests. A canoe trip through these still waters is reminiscent of scenes from the wild areas of northern New York. Once home to a brick kiln along the east shore of Beaver Creek, today the area shows very little evidence of human intrusion upon the landscape, outside of the trail network situated around the swamp's perimeter. Wildlife of all kinds abound within the area including beaver, waterfowl, turkey, deer and the occasional sighting of black bear. The swamp may be viewed from the bridge crossing the creek.
Like many of the other State lands found throughout Central NY, Beaver Creek State Forest has a variety of conifer plantations standing tall as a testimony to the hard work of the different public work programs of years gone by. These plantations, along with stands of native trees, provide wildlife habitat and wood products. A 15-acre plantation of Japanese Larch trees found within the forest serves as a seed orchard for the Department of Environmental Conservation's Saratoga Tree Nursery. This larch plantation, along with other designed conifer plantations around the state, provide a seed source for the growing stock planted for resale by the nursery.
Visitors to this area have many options for their recreational pursuits. The Brookfield Trail System covers approximately 25 miles within the State Forest, and is open to hiking, horseback riding and snowmobiling during the appropriate seasons. Organized trail rides or events need a temporary revocable permit (TRP) which can be obtained through the DEC"s Lands and Forests office in Sherburne. Plan on two to three weeks for processing prior to the event. An application fee is also required. Fishing, hunting and canoeing provide other recreational opportunities on the forest. There is a day use area that provides parking and stabling for equestrian users along the fairground road with convenient access to the trail system.
The recreational trails are open for hiking, horse back riding, mountain biking, cross country skiing or snowmobile use. Equestrian riding has a season set from May 1st through October 31st each year. Several trails are open for ATV use by permit only for people with disabilities. Further information on these permits can be obtained through any NYS DEC office throughout the state.
Beaver Creek State Forest is part of the Brookfield 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. Lands and Forests staff are currently working on the draft Brookfield UMP which will be available to the public when it is completed.
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.
Special Regulations for Beaver Creek State Forest
- Off road trails are closed to horse and mountain bike travel from October 31 to May 1.
- Horse owners must have a current negative Coggins certificate in accordance with Agriculture and Markets Rules and Regulations, Part 64 and carry such with them.
- Out-of-state horse owners may be required to produce a 30 day health certificate.
- Horses may not be run, galloped or cantered in the assembly area
To access the forest from State Route 20, take State Highway 8 south from Bridgewater approximately 3.5 miles to Skaneateles Turnpike (County Route 80) and turn right. Proceed 4 miles west to the village of Brookfield. Turn right onto Fairgrounds Road and look for State land on both sides of the road approximately a 1/4 mile past the Madison County fairgrounds. For camping permits, contact the State Forest Ranger at 315-886-1669.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4036
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies): 315-886-1669
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850