Windfall Creek State Forest
Windfall Creek State Forest, also known as Cattaraugus Reforestation Area # 6, covers 968 acres. This state forest is located in Cattaraugus County in the towns of Carrollton and Great Valley. The most common recreational uses of this area are hunting , hiking, camping, and fishing.
State Forests are managed for multiple uses. They provide a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers. They are managed for wildlife by the creation and maintenance of various habitats for many wildlife species. They are managed to provide recreational opportunities and for watershed protection.
In the 1930s, Windfall Creek State Forest was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC. The CCCs, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the depression. CCC projects included the construction of roads and the planting of thousands of pine, larch and spruce trees in the open areas on the property.
A water powered sawmill was located just north of Thorpe Hollow road just past the bridge. Evidence of house foundations and old fields with rock walls suggest that this state forest was farmed prior to state ownership.
Hunting and Trapping
Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted. Traps may not be set on public road right of ways. Body gripping traps set on land must be at least 100 feet from public trails.
Terrain can be rugged in some areas so walking up and down hills is part of the hunting experience. Access is good using forest roads to many areas. Not all roads are open to motor vehicles. More information can be obtained from your local DEC office by calling 716-372-0645.
Fishing is at twin ponds and in the steams is a minor activity on this unit. There is parking available off of Windfall Run road for this area. These are unplowed in the winter months.
Mountain biking is allowed. Multiple use trials and old logging roads can be used for this purpose. Most of these trails require a high level of mountain bike riding skill. They are a great ride if you are an expert rider and a great hike if you are not. The Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association (WNYMBA) has adopted these trails. See the link in the right column for their website and their trail maps. Please be aware that their trail information is a work in progress and all work is done by volunteers.
There are no horse trails on this area, but old logging roads may be used.
Picnicking and Day Use
Twin Ponds provides a picnic table and fishing access. Parking is available off of Windfall Run road for this area. There is one campsite available here as well. Twin Ponds access is unplowed in the winter months.
There are three camp sites on this property, one site is off of Windfall road at the Windfall ponds and two site are off Thrope Hollow road. Also individuals may set up camp at any location which is at least 150 feet from water bodies, streams, roads or trails. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
Geo-caching is allowed although caches must be marked with the owner's contact information and may not be placed in dangerous or ecologically sensitive locations.
This area has been managed to provide some young forest habitat. This unit contains a mix of sizes and species of trees, but much of the area is in larger size classes of trees and forest stands of medium maturity. Management for a variety of habitats will continue with a focus on improving and expanding young forest habitat to benefit ruffed grouse and turkey .
Conifer - The stands of pine, larch and spruce were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. These have been or will be converted to hardwoods by removal of the conifer overstory and allowing the hardwood seedlings that usually exist in these stands to grow to maturity. Many former conifer stands exist on this unit as young hardwood stands along Thorpe Hollow Road. Some pine along the stream near Thorpe Hollow Road are rooted in gravel soil will be retained as long as they are healthy and able to survive as will be some spruce on the other side of the road. This area was mostly hardwood and is that way today. The newest plantation is located near the Phearsorf Forest Road. It consists of strips of alternating larch and spruce.
Hardwood - Hardwood trees are not usually planted as they spread vast amounts of seed and naturally regenerate. Thinning of the forest through the sale of forest products gives the residual trees more growing space. This helps to 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, but are in almost all cases not. These stands have been harvested prior to state ownership, or managed during state ownership to favor large trees. Many other stands are mature and ready to be regenerated to new stands. This is usually done by a thinning to promote regeneration of new seedlings and followed by an overstory removal. Forest stands that are dominated by species that require direct sunlight for reproduction are managed in this way. Forest stands that contain oak species may require the use of fire or other types of disturbance to maintain this forest type.
Most timber on this property had been cut by the timber company before it was sold to New York State. Now, after a half century of DEC management, many mature stands exist and are ready to be harvested and regenerated. This would create forest stands in smaller size classes that are needed to balance the mix of forest stands on this unit.
New haul roads have been created to provide access for timber management. These have yellow gates and some may not be open to motor vehicles.
From Olean take Rt 417 west. At Vandalia turn onto North Nine Mile Road and drive north to Nine Mile State forest or from Rt 417 take Thorpe Hollow Road or Windfall Road to Windfall Creek State Forest. Access to Twin Ponds is from Windfall Road.
Allegany DEC Forestry Office (M-F 8-4 p.m.): 716-372-0645
Emergencies, Search and Rescue, Wildfire, or State Land Rules and Regulation enforcement call a Forest Ranger:
Martin Flanagan - (716)771-7191
Bob Rogers - (716)771-7199
Wayne Krulish - (716)771-7156
Or you can reach the Forest Ranger general dispatch number at: 1(877)457-5680
General Emergencies: 911