Whiskey Flats State Forest
Whiskey Flats State Forest covers of 2,533 acres located in the towns of Parishville and Hopkinton in northeastern St. Lawrence County.
There are several access trails located throughout the forest that are open for hiking, cross country skiing, horse riding, mountain biking, and snowmobiling.
The Rosenbarker Brook Access Trail is 0.27 miles long and is open to people with disabilities through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD). Holders of MAPPWD permits may use this trail with an ATV for hunting, camping, and similar recreational activities. Permits for Hunters with Disabilities must also be obtained for those wishing to use an ATV for hunting.
There are no designated camp sites on this property; however individuals may set up camp at any location which is at least 150 feet from water bodies, streams, roads or trails. Back country camping is allowed. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
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.
Geocaching is allowed although caches must be marked with the owner's contact information and may not be placed in dangerous or ecologically sensitive locations. See the February 2005 article in Conservationist Magazine for more information on geo-caching.
Tips For Using State Forests
Anyone enjoying this property must observe rules which protect both them and the forest environment.
The topography is variable with upland areas supporting a mixture northern hardwood, hemlock, and white pine forests. Pine, larch, and spruce plantations were established on what were formerly farm fields and pastures. Flatter ground supports open wetlands and shrub swamps, which gradually transition to swamp hardwoods and white cedar in seasonal flooded areas.
Red Pine Trees in 2012. Shown as seedlings in picture below.
The pine false webworm (Acantholyda erythrocephala) is an invasive sawfly native to Europe which has caused significant defoliation and mortality of Scotch and white pines in Whiskey Flats State Forest and nearby Catherineville State Forest. It was first reported locally in 1981 and populations have fluctuated greatly, with a particularly large outbreak between 1987 and 1996.
By the fall of 1992, some stands within Whiskey Flats State Forest were experiencing 20%+ sawtimber mortality due to defoliation. Many more trees that were still alive had become infested with secondary wood boring insects. A decision was made to salvage 724 acres of merchantable white pine on Whiskey Flats and Catherineville State Forests. Most of the harvested stands had ample hardwood regeneration present, which has now developed into dense stands of red maple, paper birch, and sugar maple saplings.
This forest can be accessed from the Newton and Capell Roads, and St. Lawrence County Route 56 in the town of Parishville, and the Kingsley, Fletcher, Green and Hayden Roads, and State Highway 72 in the town of Hopkinton.
Important Phone Numbers
Potsdam DEC Office (M-F 8AM-4:30PM)
DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch: (518) 408-5850
Tips for Using State Forests
Red Pine Seedlings in 1938
This forest consists of 30 separate parcels which were purchased between 1932 and 1962 for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation, and watershed protection.
Many of the properties purchased by the state in the 1930s and early 1940s were exhausted farmland with little tree cover. The first priorities after the establishment of a state forest were to reforest the land, prevent soil erosion, and minimize the threat of wildfires.The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played an important role in the early protection and development of this forest. Crews from Camp S-95 in Brasher Falls, Camp S-120 in Brushton, and Camp S-134 in Pierrepont accomplished the following tasks on Whiskey Flats State Forest between 1935 and 1940:
- Planted over 1,862,000 trees on 1,014 acres, with the major species being white pine, red pine, and Scotch pine. Other less common species planted include jack pine, red spruce, Douglas-fir, Japanese larch, and willow.
- Cleared and maintained 10.2 miles of fireline.
- Constructed 12 waterholes for fire control. Three waterholes still exist, with a good example located along State Highway 72 near the intersection with Green Road.
CCC Waterhole in 1936
Between 1953 and 1965, the New York State Grange sponsored a "Juvenile Grange Forestry Project" which established tree plantations across the state. The Conservation Department provided seedlings and junior grange members planted trees in several counties, with the goal of interesting children in the importance of forestry and conservation. In 1959, several Japanese larch and red pine plantations were established on Whiskey Flats State Forest, which have since developed into impressive and valuable stands of trees. A sign along Capell Road commemorates this project and the good work it accomplished.
Whiskey Flats State Forest is located adjacent to St. Lawrence County Forest #'s 2, 3, and 4, which are managed by the St. Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District.