Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Birdseye Hollow State Forest

hiking iconpicnic areaporta pottyfishingfishing pierhuntingtrapping primitive campingboat launchhand launchpaddlingcross-country skiingsnowshoeing snowmobilingbikingaccessible featuresparking icon key

Birdseye Hollow State Forest locator map

Birdseye Hollow State Forest is a 3,446-acre state forest featuring Sanford Lake, Birdseye Hollow Park day use area, and the Forest Stewardship Demonstration Tour.

Featured Activities


hiking icon

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

Birdseye Hollow State Forest features a hiking trail and a multiple-use trail. Located on the area is a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail (foot traffic only), a 558-mile trail that extends from Allegany State Park in southwestern New York to the Catskill Forest Preserve in eastern New York. Maintenance has been continued by volunteers of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference (leaves DEC website) under a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement. In 1992, it was designated as a segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail (leaves DEC website), a 3,200-mile trail which extends from New York to North Dakota.

The multiple-use trail connects Round Lake Road to Sanford Lake.

Day Use/Picnic

Sanford Lake on Birdseye Hollow
Sanford Lake on Birdseye Hollow
picnic icon
porta potty

Sanford Lake Rec Area - located next to Sanford Lake, features a picnic area with picnic tables, gravel boat ramp, a canoe/kayak launch and a floating dock. Portable toilets are provided Memorial Day to Labor Day. No trash pickup is provided. This is a carry in-carry out facility.

Birdseye Hollow Park - located next to Birdseye Hollow Pond, is owned and managed by Steuben County, Department of Public Works (leaves DEC website). It features a paved parking area, paved path to a picnic pavilion, several fixed charcoal grills and picnic tables, playground, benches, a floating fishing pier, and pit toilets (Memorial Day to Labor Day). No trash pick-up is provided. This is a carry in-carry out facility.

Forest Stewardship Auto Tour

The self-guided Forest Stewardship Auto Tour on Birdseye Hollow and Moss Hill State Forests has eight roadside stops which show different stages of forest growth; from young seedling/sapling stands less than ten years old, to mature forests approaching 100 years of age. It is designed to show how forests change over time. It also demonstrates how forest management helps to maintain ecological diversity which provides a variety of benefits. Additional information located below.


fishing icon

General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Birdseye Hollow State Forest provides fishing opportunities on Mud Creek, Sanford Lake (18 acres), Van Keuren Lake (6.5 acres), Round Lake (12.8 acres), and Birdseye Hollow Pond. These waters provide anglers with limited to moderate fishing opportunities for bass, sunfish, pickerel, and bullheads.

Birdseye Hollow Pond features a floating fishing pier and Sanford Lake features a breakwall.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting icon
trapping icon

Wildlife Management Unit: 8W

General information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Birdseye Hollow State Forest offers both small and big game hunting opportunities. White-tailed deer is the primary big game species. Small game include wild turkey, ruffed grouse, pheasant, woodcock, squirrel, cottontail rabbit, and waterfowl. Permanent tree stands and any equipment that damages trees are prohibited.

Furbearer trapping opportunities exist mainly near the forest's watercourses. Target species include mink, muskrat, raccoon, and beaver. Additionally, limited opportunities also exist for trapping fox and coyote in the unit.

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. Permanent tree stands are prohibited. However, a temporary tree stand or blind is allowed, provided that it does not injure any trees, is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season, but no more than thirty days in one location per calendar year.


primitive camping icon

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

The camping opportunities at Birdseye Hollow State Forest include seven primitive campsites located on Sanford Lake. Campsites are delineated and include tables and fire rings. Portable toilets are provided during the summer recreation season. There is no potable water source. No trash pickup is provided. This is a carry in-carry out facility. Due to high demand for these campsites during the summer recreation season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), a permit is required from the Bath DEC office during regular business hours. Permits are not available on-site.

At large backcountry primitive camping is also 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.


paddling icon

General information on paddling and general information on boating includes safety tips with links to rules and regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county.

Sanford Lake and Birdseye Hollow Pond offer boating and paddling opportunities - canoes/kayaks or boats with electric motors only.

Sanford Lake features a small gravel boat launch and a floating kayak/canoe launch. On Birdseye Hollow Pond, boats can be hand launched from shore.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

crosscountry skiing icon
snowshoeing icon

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

All trails at Birdseye Hollow State Forest are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. However, Birdseye Hollow State Forest does not have any groomed cross-country ski trails.


snowmobiling icon

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

Snowmobiles are only permitted on designated trails. The major snowmobile corridor trail, Kris's Trail, crosses Birdseye Hollow and the adjacent Moss Hill State Forest. It was constructed and is maintained by the Sno-flakes Snowmobile Club (leaves DEC website) under the Volunteer Stewardship Agreement Program.

Mountain Biking


General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Mountain biking is allowed on town and county roads and on the multiple use trail (please see map above).


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

New York's southern tier encompasses a wide variety of habitats and landscapes made up of mountainous hills, forests, grasslands and wetlands. Everything from black bear to black-throated blue warblers and brook trout to wild turkey call the southern tier home. The grasslands are home to a variety of bird species including northern harrier and state endangered Henslow's sparrow. White-tailed deer and fisher thrive in the forested hills, while beaver and mink flourish in the wetlands. Outdoorsmen and women from across New York State flock to this area year round for its exquisite wildlife watching and unbeatable hunting.

Accessible Features

accessible features icon
View of floating fishing pier on Birdseye Hollow Pond.
Birdseye Hollow Pond and fishing pier

Pedestrian Accessible Features: The following features are designed to be wheelchair accessible and can be accessed via a pedestrian path from the public parking area:

Sanford Lake Rec Area - fishing and viewing area; picnic area; primitive camping; portable toilets available seasonally; gravel boat launch; floating canoe/kayak launch

At Birdseye Hollow Park - floating fishing and viewing platform; picnic pavilion

For more information, see the Maps, Day Use/Picnic, Fishing, Camping, Boating/Paddling sections.

Forest Stewardship Auto Tour

Eight roadside stops in Birdseye Hollow and Moss Hill State Forest show how forests grow from young seedling/sapling stands to mature sawtimber forests about 100 years old. You'll observe firsthand how forest management helps make these forests valuable for people and wildlife alike.

The stops can be visited in any order.

Forest Stewardship Auto Tour Map (Geo PDF)

Stop #1: Black Walnut Forest

black walnut branches, leaves and nuts
Walnuts on a walnut tree

Skillful management has helped this beautiful and uncommon black walnut forest fight off invasive grapevines and honeysuckle and even produce almost $9,000 worth of lumber in a recent harvest.

This is a stand of black walnut trees, a popular furniture wood with a lovely dark color. This color, and its relative rarity, make it one of New York's most valuable hardwood trees. This stand of trees has been managed for many years:
•1979 some trees were pruned and others harvested.
•2002 wild grapevines that were beginning to smother the crowns of trees were cut.
•2008 herbicide treatment of undesirable understory of honeysuckle, harvested trees earned New York State $8,800 in revenue, and 55 bushels of walnut seeds were planted.

Did you know?

The black walnut produces juglone, a chemical which will kill, or slow the growth, of many plants that come in contact with it. The toxic zone from a mature tree is usually a 50 to 60 foot radius from the trunk, but can be more. Other plants are not affected by it at all, such as the honeysuckle, rose, and sedges you see growing below these trees.

The dark wood produced by black walnut is used to make furniture, gun stocks, and cabinets for kitchens or baths. Often it is sliced very thin to produce a thin veneer which can be layered over top of cheaper plywood for use in furniture and cabinet making.

Stop #2: Protection Forest
Front cover of the Best Management Practices Field Guide
Available from your local DEC Forestry office

During logging, some forests need extra protection because of features such as wet soils, endangered wildlife or plants, historical artifacts or recreational uses. For example, the steep slopes of this oak forest are prone to erosion, so skid trails used for logging equipment here require additional erosion control techniques.

In another case, harvesting during winter when the ground is frozen may be the best option to protect forests with endangered plants or wet soils. Some areas are so fragile that they cannot be harvested at all.

Did you know?

In the mid-1800's New York State was only 20-25% forested, but it is now 63% forested. Most of that forest land is in private ownership.

The acorns from these oak trees provide plenty of nourishment for white-tail deer, black bear and blue jays.

Stop #3: Uneven-Aged Forest
Sugar maple leaves in yellow fall colors
Fall sugar maple leaves

An uneven-aged forest contains trees of at least three different age groups at the same time. Look closely and you will see trees of many different sizes in the stand behind this sign. Only shade tolerant tree species like sugar maple and hemlock can grow under larger trees and form uneven-aged stands. Trees such as oak require full sunlight when they are seedlings and are often found in even-aged stands. When a timber harvest occurs in an uneven-aged stand, trees need to be removed from all the age classes, both young and old, in order to continue the various age groups into the future. This provides for a continuous supply of wood over the years, with no pause to regrow the entire stand from seed.

Did you know?

Sugar maple is the official state tree of New York. In the spring the sap can be harvested and boiled down to produce maple syrup and sugar. It takes somewhere between 40 and 90 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup, the exact amount varies depending on the amount of sugar in the sap.

Stop #4: Plantation Forest
Log truck full of logs
Harvested red pine logs

This red pine forest was planted in 1964 on an abandoned agricultural field, so all the trees are the same age and size, in other words it is an even-aged stand. Harvests to relieve overcrowding have taken place in 1985, 1999 and most recently in 2009. These trees are now 12 inches or more in diameter, large enough to produce lumber.

Did you know?

Conifer trees such as pines, hemlock and spruce trees provide habitat for many wildlife species such as the pine siskins songbird, red squirrels and white-tail deer.

Stop #5: Poletimber Forest
Old tour stop sign with sapling trees behind it
Photo taken about five years after harvest

The forest behind this sign began its life cycle with a clear-cut harvest in 1985. Since then, these trees have passed though the seedling and sapling stages and are now 6-12 inches in diameter, and called "poletimber" by foresters. Growth is very rapid at this stage and the stronger, faster-growing trees are shading out the slower-growing ones.

At this size they are large enough for use as firewood, but too small for lumber. This size class provides habitat for wildlife as well, although it is not as useful habitat for wildlife as seedling/sapling, sawtimber or conifer can be.

Did you know?

Firewood is often measured by the "cord". A cord is a stack of (split or unsplit) wood 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long. A "face cord" is a stack of wood 4 feet high by 8 feet long, the width is whatever length the pieces are cut to.

Traditionally wood to be made into paper or cardboard was also measured in cords, but with modern equipment it is now more quickly measured by the ton on a big truck scale.

Stop #6: Forest Thinning
Forester marking trees to be harvested with blue tree paint
Forester marking trees for harvest

The area to the right of this sign has been harvested and thinned in 1985, 1998 and 2009, allowing sunlight and growing room for the remaining trees. Notice that, although there are fewer trees on the right than in the uncut area on the left, the trees on the right look healthier, have more space, and are better shaped, with larger average diameters. In other words, on the thinned portion individual tree growth is maximized; average tree diameter is larger and number of trees fewer, meanwhile, net growth on the unthinned portion has now reached zero. This means some trees must die in order for others to get larger, and individual tree growth is very slow.

Trees to be harvested are selected based on poor form or health, and the spacing required for good growth of the remaining forest. On the unthinned portion to the left, individual tree growth is very slow.

Did you know?

Every year trees add length to the end of their branches and width to the trunk. In the spring, summer and early fall new growth is added, and growth stops during the cold winter months. This cycle of fast growth in the spring and early summer followed by slowing and stopping growth results in annual rings of light then dark wood.

In years of good weather and growing conditions, lots of sun and rain, the growth ring will be wide. In years with bad growing conditions the rings will be narrow. Thus a tree growing in a thinned stand that has lots of sunlight available will have larger growth rings than one growing in close competition with neighboring trees.

Stop #7: Seedling/Sapling Forest

This seedling/sapling forest began its life cycle with a clear-cut harvest in 2005. Clear cutting encourages tree species like black cherry, oak and aspen, which need full sun as seedlings. At less than 6 inches in diameter, seedlings and saplings are not large enough to produce commercial products, but they do provide excellent habitat for wildlife such as ruffed grouse, eastern box turtle and New England cottontail. Although sometimes regarded negatively, clear cutting can result in a healthy new forest and abundant wildlife.

Did you know?

In addition to sprouting from seeds, many types of trees such as oak, beech, maples and aspen also sprout from stumps, and some from roots as well. Aspen and beech are well known for creating dense areas thick with sprouts all connected together by one root system. This results in multiple stem trees, and is called a coppice.

Stop #8: Mature Forest
End grain of cut boards
Lumber ready to use

At about 100 years old, the stand behind this sign is approaching maturity and provides a wide variety of habitat for different wildlife and a steady supply of lumber and paper for us. Trees greater than 12 inches in diameter are known as "sawtimber," as they are large enough to be sawed into lumber and will soon be harvested to make space for young trees. Forests in this stage are good habitat for cavity-nesting birds, grey squirrels, and woodpeckers.

Did you know?

Lumber is measured and the volume of trees estimated in units called a "board foot" which is a piece of lumber 1 inch thick, 12 inches wide and 1 foot long, or its equivalent. A red oak tree 16 inches in diameter and 32 feet of trunk has about 180 board feet in it.

The first cut, or rough cut, of green (still wet) wood is the full 1 inch measurement. The lumber shrinks as it dries and then the rough surface is planed smooth resulting in a final product that is about ¾ of an inch in thickness.


  • Birdseye Hollow Park Parking Lot is located off Birdseye Hollow Road, County Route 96. 42.370349°N, 77.148299°W, Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sanford Boat Launch Parking Lot is located at the end of Sanford Lake Road on the left. 42.330009°N, 77.179962°W, Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sanford Picnic Area Parking Lot is located at the end of Sanford Lake Road on the right. 42.329289°N, 77.178624°W, Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

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

Rules, Regulations, and Outdoors 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 Birdseye Hollow State Forest must follow all State Forest Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

  1. Protect our forests by following the NYS Firewood Regulation.
  2. Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. They may ruin the waters you love.
  3. Sanford Lake designated campsites require a permit from the Bath DEC Office during the summer recreation season (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
  4. Camping is not allowed in the Birdseye Hollow Park area.
  5. Use of the waters by powered watercraft is limited to watercraft powered by electric trolling motors.
  6. Horseback riding is permitted on the multiple-use trails.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Keuka Lowlands Unit Management Plan (PDF). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, food and other supplies as well as dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Bath, Corning and Painted Post.

Stueben County Conference and Visitors Bureau (leaves DEC website) and the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guidebooks 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.