Tug Hill

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New York State
Deer Creek Marsh WMA
Lowville Forestry Demonstration Area
Pixley Falls State Park
Sand Bay State Forest
Sand Hill State Forest
Tug Hill State Forest
Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area
Winona State Forest

Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Map: Lowville Demostration Area

Map: Lowville Demostration Area

The Demonstration Area Nature Trail is located on 98 acres at the former Lowville Tree Nursery. This Nursery was in operation from approximately 1923 to 1971, when the last seedlings were shipped out. The Nursery employed approximately ten permanent and around 100 temporary men and women. A total of 530 million seedlings were produced during the 48 years of operation. Seedling production was moved to Saratoga, N.Y. in 1971

Map: Tug Hill State Forest (North)

Map: Tug Hill State Forest (North)

This 12,242-acre state forest, actually a combination of four neighboring forests, is so named because it is located entirely on the Tug Hill Plateau, an area that is renowned for its harsh winters and heavy snowfalls. Much of the forest is formerly abandoned agricultural land which was purchased by the state in the 1930's for around $4 per acre. Immediately after the property was acquired, state tree planting crews reforested the depleted farm fields to white spruce, white pine, red pine, and, to a lesser degree, other conifer species. Today, these early tree planting efforts are evidenced by the many softwood plantations that exist on the forest. Under the care and custody of the State's foresters, these early plantings, along with natural hardwood and softwood stands, have matured and are now producing a wide variety of forest products.

In July 1995, a severe windstorm or "microburst" swept through the area, devastating hundreds of acres of timber and leaving in its wake dramatic scars to the landscape that will continue to be evident to future generations. The more valuable downed timber was purchased and salvaged by numerous local loggers under contract with the state. Many roads and recreational trails were temporarily blocked by trees that had been downed by the storm. In addition to the commercial logging operations, NYSDEC's Operations personnel and local volunteers joined forces and pitched in to reopen these routes in very short order.

Because of the heavy snow cover that this area endures for nearly half of the year, it is no surprise that winter sports such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dogsledding, and cross-country skiing dominate the local recreational scene. Other popular outdoor activities include white-tailed deer and snowshoe hare hunting, woodland hiking and biking, and brook trout fishing. Access to the area is provided by over 16 miles of graveled forest roads and is highlighted by the well known 13.2 mile Barnes Corners Cross-country Ski Trail System.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/8001.html
http://www.cnyhiking.com/TugHillStateForest.htm

Map: Lake Bonaparte

Map: Lake Bonaparte

This 326 acre state forest was acquired by the state from the US Army in 1964. It is named for the sandy shoreline of Lake Bonaparte that makes up part of the southern boundary of the forest. Underlying much of the property is granite bedrock, which in places surfaces as bare rock outcrops, and in other places is covered with relatively deep, rich soil. The terrain varies from steep rocky ridges to a 90 acre ecologically rich wetland. Timber management is very limited by the difficult terrain and has been confined to stands near the North Shore Road.

A shallow draft boat launch and parking lot is available to fishermen wishing to try their luck on Lake Bonaparte. Other recreational pursuits include white-tailed deer and small game hunting and woodland hiking and exploration.

The Lake Bonaparte Day Use Area composed of six campsites is located along North Bonaparte Road. (See right sidebar for regulations)

Map: Deer Creek Marsh WMA and Selkirk Shores State Park

Map: Deer Creek Marsh WMA and Selkirk Shores State Park

Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA), totaling 1,771 acres, is located in the northwest corner of Oswego County along the shore of Lake Ontario. Deer Creek Marsh can be reached by taking the Pulaski exit off of Rte. 81 and proceeding west on Rte 13. Turn north (right) at the intersection of Rte. 13 and State Route 3 at Port Ontario about three miles west of Pulaski. Proceed north on Rte 3, and Deer Creek Marsh WMA will be on your left, accessible by Kelly Drive and Rainbow Shores Road.

Deer Creek Marsh WMA is a combination of wetland types that include open cattails and a bog. The dominant feature, though, is an extensive barrier beach and sand dune system that separates and protects the marshland from the ravages of Lake Ontario. The water elevation in the marsh is determined to a large extent by the level of Lake Ontario and whether the outlet of Deer Creek is plugged by sand or open to flow into Lake Ontario. Wildlife associated with wetlands dominate this area as all species of waterfowl that migrate up and down the Atlantic coast occur here either as a resident species or a visitor during the spring and fall migrations. In addition, beaver, mink, white-tailed deer and even wild turkeys live at Deer Creek.

Map: Winona State Forest

Map: Winona State Forest

The Winona State Forest is located on the boundary of southern Jefferson County and northern Oswego County. It is east of interstate #81, west of Littlejohn Wildlife Management Area and is on the western edge of the Tug Hill Plateau.

This 9,233-acre state forest offers many recreational opportunities, including: hiking, skiing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, dog sledding, birdwatching and horseback riding. The unit contains 21.8 miles of cross-country ski trails, 8.7 miles of snowmobile trails (some designated New York State Snowmobile Corridor Trails), 9.9 miles forest roads, and 5 parking lots.

This reforestation land was once farmland, and during the late 1930's and 1940's, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted evergreen trees, built roads, ponds, and buildings on this land. As the trees have grown to maturity, foresters have marked many stands for wood products, including red pine poles going overseas, pulpwood to local paper mills, black cherry to Harden Furniture and chips for energy.

Around 1980, DEC staff and local cross country skiing enthusiasts met to discuss a trail system, including one for cross country ski racing. This was logical since the Tug Hill Plateau has the biggest snowfall east of the Rockies and has reliable snow cover throughout the winter. The trails became known as the Tug Hill Tourathon Trails. Each year since then, new trails have been added. Much volunteer work went into this project and DEC Operations crews, with their heavy equipment and manpower, has made these trails what they are today.

Over the past years, many different groups have enjoyed the use of these trails, but this has made for some difficulty in how to designate which trails would be used and for what purpose. The Western Edge Recreational Association was developed around 1995 to bring together all the users: skiers, snowmobilers, dog sledders, horse owners, hunters, bikers, and orienteering people.

With the melding of ideas, resources and manpower, Winona State Forest has become one of New York State's best venues for recreation, and at the same time, provides valuable timber resources.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/8072.html
http://www.winonaforest.com/