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Brokenstraw State Forest

Brokenstraw State Forest locator map

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The 951-acre Brokenstraw State Forest provides opportunities for many outdoor recreational activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and hunting. It also serves as a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry, which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers, and it provides various habitats for many wildlife species such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey.

In the 1930s Brokenstraw State Forest was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC, 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 and spruce trees in the abandoned agricultural land on the property.

Featured Activities

Westside Overland Trail in Brokenstraw State Forest
The Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail



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

Part of the Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail (leaves DEC website) runs through the state forest. The 1.4 miles of trail within the unit are maintained by Chautauqua County. The trail corridor navigates the various woodlots and access trails. Only biking, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed on the trail - no motor vehicles or horses.

Coordinators of organized trail events need to obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event. These can be obtained at the Dunkirk office.


primitive camping

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

There is one designated campsite along Brokenstraw Forest road; also 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 and Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 9J

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

Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted.


deer in woods

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

Brokenstraw State Forest is home to a variety of wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, raccoon and turkey. Fox, mink and bear are occasionally sighted. The abundance of different habitat types created by forestry management makes this an ideal area for wildlife sightings. The forest also hosts a variety of songbirds that can be found especially in heavily harvested areas where there is thick seedling-sapling cover.


From Panama take County Route 10 west for 2 miles to County Route 23 (Weeks Road). Proceed south on Weeks Road approximately 3 miles to the parking lot on Brokenstraw Forest Road. Brokenstraw Forest Road runs east through this state forest providing good access to a majority of the property for outdoor activities.

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

  • Weeks Road parking area (42.022921°N, 79.527649°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

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 Brokenstraw 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

Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

Planning and Management

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

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

Timber Management

Timber management is practiced at Brokenstraw State Forest. The existing stands of pine and spruce were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. The stands are usually managed by a series of partial harvest thinnings, which encourage the natural regeneration of native hardwoods by providing openings for sunlight. Removal of the conifer overstory in the final harvest enables the hardwood seedlings to grow to maturity.

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 to keep the forest healthy and provides openings for new seedlings, a revolving supply of food and cover for wildlife, and a source of future crop trees. Some stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth; these stands were actually harvested prior to state ownership.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Dining opportunities, gas, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Clymer and Jamestown.
  • Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Clymer, Panama and Jamestown.

Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

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.