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Boutwell Hill State Forest

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Boutwell Hill State Forest locator map

Boutwell Hill State Forest totals 2,944 acres and is located in the Towns of Charlotte and Cherry Creek in Chautauqua County. The major recreational activities include: hiking, mountain biking, horse back riding, and hunting.

History

These lands were purchased by the people of New York State starting in the 1930s for timber production, recreational use, watershed protection and wildlife. These areas now provide opportunities for many informal outdoor recreational activities. They are also a source of raw materials for New York's forest products industry, providing employment and income for many New Yorkers.

In the 1930s, Boutwell Hill Management Unit was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC. Established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the CCC provided employment opportunities for young men during the depression. CCC projects included construction of roads and planting thousands of pine and spruce trees in open areas.

wildflowers in bloom
Wildflowers in bloom at Boutwell Hill State Forest

Field Notes

Canadaway Creek Wildlife Management Area is adjacent to this unit, and is located just north of Boutwell Hill State Forest. The tract is 2,160 acres of hardwood forests interspersed with conifer plantations. The primary objective for the area is to maintain a high-quality habitat for ruffed grouse through a regulated timber management program. Other wildlife species use the area, and also benefit from these practices. Boutwell Hill State Forest practices timber management to produce forest crops, maintain diverse wildlife habitat and provide recreational opportunities while protecting water quality and aesthetics, true multiple use forest management.

Timber Management

Stands of pine and spruce were planted in old farm fields, as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. They are usually managed by a series of partial thinnings. These thinnings provide openings of sunlight to encourage natural regeneration of native hardwood. The removal of the conifer overstory in the final harvest allows the hardwood seedling to grow to maturity.

A view of the forest along the Earl Cardot Overland Trail
Mature stand of hardwoods along the Earl Cardot Overland Trail

Hardwood trees are not usually planted, as they spread vast amounts of seed and naturally regenerate. Periodic thinning of the forest through the sale of forest products gives the residual trees more growing space. This helps keep the forest healthy and provides openings for new seedlings, a revolving supply of food and cover for wildlife and source of future crop trees. Some stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth. Often these large trees represent survivors of timber harvesting prior to state ownership.

Boutwell Hill State Forest lies within the Cattaraugus Highlands ecological subzone. This subzone supports a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians as residents. Several species are listed as threatened or of special concern; however, a review of the Natural Heritage Program files indicates that no endangered wildlife species are known to exist on the State Forest.

Active Timber Sales

Current sales include a thinning that is taking place on the northern portion of the property off of Arab Hill Forest Road. The sale goes through the East Side Overland Trail area, this section of trail from Lewis Road parking area to Arab Hill Forest Road will be closed until 2012. Arab Hill Forest Road will be closed at least until harvest and road work are finished. It is expected to be closed for the 2011 season. For more information on this please feel free to call our Dunkirk Office (see information in right hand column).

Recreation

Boutwell Hill State Forest offers many recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, picnicking and cross-country skiing. The Eastside Overland Trail traverses 8.5 miles of Boutwell Hill State Forest. The trail was built through the cooperative efforts of government and private individuals. Chautauqua County through the Department of Public Works, Parks Division and the County Park Commission are responsible for trail maintenance. There are also 6.2 miles of designated snowmobile/horse trails in Boutwell Hill State Forest, which is separate from the Overland Trail.

Users of the trail systems may observe various management practices, which may at times disrupt trail use. Planning for multiple uses of the forest lands considers all disruptive impacts. Parking lots for trail use are located on Ruttenbur Road, Boutwell Hill Road and Erwin Road (County Route 85.)

Hiking

The Earl Cardot Eastside Overland Trail traverses the state forest north to south from Ruttenbur Road to Erwin Road (County Route 85.) There are 6.4 miles of the trail on the State Forest which are maintained by Chautauqua County DPW, Parks Division. The trail corridor navigates the State's various aesthetically and pleasing woodlots, marsh dikes and access trails. Bicycles, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed on the trail only, no motor vehicles or horses. When the trail leaves public lands it only follows roads and highways.

Skiing and Snowshoeing

Allowed on Earl Cardot Eastside Overland Trail, on the snowmobile trail and on forest roads.

Mountain biking

Allowed on Earl Cardot Eastside Overland Trail and forest roads.

Horseback riding

Allowed on property but not permitted on the East Side Overland Trail, there are no designated trails at this time. Horse trails on this property are currently under development. There is an Adopt-a-Natural resource agreement with a local horse club who is working with NYS DEC and Chautauqua County Tourism to develop a trail system. The snowmobile trail may be used at this time for this activity unless otherwise posted. All Organized trail events must have a Temporary Revocable Permit which can be obtained form the local NYSDEC office by Contacting: Keith Carrow, Senior Forester at 716-363-2052. All forest roads may be used for riding/driving, and is encouraged. Please be aware of where you can and cannot ride prior to entering these state forest lands and be respectful of all "Trail Closed" signs.

Snowmobiling

The local snowmobile club maintains approximately 6.5 miles of trail which does not coincide with the hiking trail. The trail is adopted and maintained by Cherry Creek Sno-Goers Snowmobile Club (http://www.nyssnowassoc.org/). The trail connects to various other snowmobile trails that travel off state property-please be respectful of adjacent landowners. The trail also can be used for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in the off season.
Organized trail events need to have their coordinators obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event. These can be obtained through the Falconer DEC Office at 716-363-2052.

Hunting

Hunting is allowed on the property; be sure to abide by all game laws in effect through the NYS DEC. Various hunter and trapper harvest records are available for the towns and Wildlife Management Unit 9K covering Boutwell Hill State Forest. This information illustrates the relative abundance of these wildlife species and the public interest in trapping and hunting activities in the local area.

Tips for using State Forests

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

Directions:

From Cassadaga NY, take route 72 west until you come to route 77 south. Turn right onto 77 south to Ruttenbur road, then turn left onto Ruttenbur road and follow until it comes to Lewis Road. Make a right onto Lewis road and a parking area will be on your immediate left for the Overland Trail. Additional parking lots for trail use are located on Ruttenbur Road, Boutwell Hill Road and Erwin Road (County Route 85.)

Important Numbers

State Forest Office (M-F 8-4 p.m.): 716-363-2052
Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): 716-771-7180
Emergencies: 911