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Bucks Brook State Forest

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Buck's Brook State Forest locator map

Bucks Brook State Forest consists of 2,178 acres located between State highway 26 and County Highway 13 in the northwest corner of Chenango County. Popular recreational uses of this forest are hiking, nature observation and hunting.

Bucks Brook Road offers a scenic drive through the Bucks Brook gorge. As one travels up the gorge, the state forest is on both sides of the road, protecting the fragile steep slopes. Turning left at the intersection with Ridge Road will bring one to a hill top known as Cary Hill having an elevation of 1,957 feet. This hill top was struck by a tornado in 1993 and an information sign along the roadside describes the event.

Featured Activities



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

A portion of the Finger Lakes Trail (leaves DEC website) traverses the forest. The trail enters the forest on the northwest side along Ratville Road and traverses east and then south to where it exits the forest on Bucks Brook Road near its junction with Route 26.


primitive camping

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

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.

The Brook at Buck's Brook State Forest



General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules and regulations.

The Otselic River, which runs along Route 26, offers nearby trout fishing opportunities and is easily accessible due to the numerous DEC parking areas.

Fishing information for Central NY is available.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 7M

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

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross country skiing

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

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.


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


Bucks Brook State Forest can be accessed by either the Bucks Brook Road from State highway 26 or the Ridge Road which traverses north from South Otselic to its junction with County highway 16. These are both dirt roads that are plowed in the winter.

  • Ridge Road pull off, northern end near the Finger Lakes Trail (42.707672°N, 75.785836°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 Bucks Brook 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.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Northern Chenango Highlands Unit Management Plan. 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 at

Timber Management

Bucks Brook State Forest is a mixture of softwood plantations, consisting of red pine, white pine, spruce and larch trees on old farm lands, and native hardwoods. The softwood plantations were generally planted in either the 1930s or 1960s. Periodic timber harvests, managed by DEC foresters, thin the woods and regenerate forest areas. The harvested trees are used for the production of hardwood and softwood lumber, hardwood furniture, utility poles, paper and log cabins.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas and food may be found in the nearby community of South Otselic.
  • Dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Cortland and Cazenovia.

Chenango County Tourism Webpage (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.

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  • NYSDEC Region 7
    Sherburne Sub-office
    2715 State Hwy 80
    Sherburne, NY 13460
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