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Whiskey Flats State Forest

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Whiskey Flats State Forest covers of 2,533 acres and was created for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation and watershed protection.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

The state forest contains 12.3 miles of multi-use trails, unpaved roads, and snowmobile routes that traverse the property and provide access.

Camping

primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

At-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting trappingGeneral Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

There are more than 11 miles of trails that provide snowmobiling access throughout the property. Also, there is a NYS Snowmobile route that passes through the center of the property. The snowmobile routes are maintained and groomed by the St. Lawrence County Snowmobile Association through a volunteer stewardship agreement.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Accessible Features

motorized access program for people with disabilities

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

The .27-mile Rosenbarker Brook Access Trail in center of the forest that allows motorized access for people with mobility impairments. A permit is required through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities.

Directions

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.

  • Hayden Rd. unmaintained parking area (44.6549606°N, 74.7511368°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Whiskey Flats State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

Mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on the property; however, there are no trails on this property currently maintained for these activities.

How We Manage Whiskey Flats State Forest

DEC is developing a unit management plan (UMP) which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

A Picture in 2012 of a Red Pine Plantation, planted in 1938
Red Pine Trees in 2012. Shown as seedlings in picture below.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us information.r6@dec.ny.gov.

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.

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.

A picture of Red Pine seedlings planted by the CCC in 1938
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.
A picture of a CCC water hole constructed in 1936
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.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Information regarding where to find amenities

  • Gas, lodging, dining opportunities, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Parishville, Colton, Hannawa Falls, Hopkinton and Potsdam.

St. Lawrence County tourism (leaves DEC website) and St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Postwood Park (leaves DEC website) and Stone Valley Trail (leaves DEC website) are nearby facilities that offer excellent recreational opportunities.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.