Basswood State Forest
Basswood State Forest is located within the Town of Oxford in Chenango County. The forest name is attributed to the "Basswood Meeting House", which was a church built in the late 1800's in South Oxford. Much of the wood used inside of the church was basswood. Three of the roads which lead from South Oxford to the state forest incorporate the name of the historic building: Basswood Road, Basswood to Irelands Corner Road, and Basswood - Hoveys Road. The tree species, American Basswood, is still prevalent in the area.
The Basswood State Forest covers a total of 938 acres. The highest elevation on the forest is approximately 1,630 feet and is located near the eastern end of the Public Forest Access Road. The lowest elevation is about 1200 feet and is found on the far western edge of the forest, along Shapley Brook. The forest has a mix of well-drained and poorly drained ground. The most visible wetland is along Basswood to Irelands Corner Road, south of Dr. Crouch Road. Shapley Brook and Padget Brook are the two main streams on the forest. Both of these streams are tributaries to Bear Brook, which flows into the Chenango River. Neither of these streams is considered to be a significant trout stream, but surveys have found they both support brook trout. The forest cover on the Basswood State Forest is generally a mixture of either native or planted conifers with northern hardwood species. The northern hardwoods include beech, birch, maple, oak, cherry, ash, and basswood. The planted conifers include red pine, scotch pine, white pine, Norway spruce, and white spruce. The native conifers include white pine and hemlock. All of the conifer plantations in the forest where planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC's) in the late 1930's.
The mammals that are common residents of the Basswood State Forest include deer, raccoons, squirrels, porcupines, chipmunks, and opossum. Coyotes and foxes are also present, but less common. There is also a large variety of birds, including songbirds and hawks. Great blue herons are occasionally seen in the wetland adjacent to Basswood to Irelands Corner Road. Turkeys are also abundant on this forest, especially in areas where beech and oak trees are prevalent.
Basswood State Forest is bordered by a mix of privately owned woodlands and agricultural lands. Wiley Brook State Forest is also in close proximity. The most popular recreational activities on the forest are hunting and hiking. Several miles of the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail are found on the forest. The trail can be accessed from the Public Forest Access Road. Hunting is most popular during big game season. Winter activities include cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
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.
Access to the forest is primarily gained by traveling on County Routes 27 or 35. Brookbank Road crosses through the forest and connects to Route 27. Quarry Road also crosses through the forest, and it connects to Route 35. A Public Forest Access Road is located on the forest between Quarry Road and Dr. Crouch Road.
The town roads on the forest are all good quality and are gravel-surface roads which may be traveled with any passenger car. The Public Forest Access Road is also a good quality, well maintained road. The eastern portion of Quarry Road and the entire Public Forest Access Road are not plowed during the winter. All of the other town roads near the forest are plowed. There are no true parking areas located on the forest, but there are many places to park vehicles along the sides of the town roads. One may also park on old log decks next to the roads.
State Forest Office (M-F 8am-4pm): 607-674-4036
Forest Ranger (Law Enforcement/Emergencies): 607-674-9766
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: 518-408-5850