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Hiking in Cortland County
Hoxie Gorge State Forest
Hoxie Gorge State Forest encompasses 2,064 acres of land and is located in the towns of Freetown and Virgil in the middle of Cortland County.
Hoxie Gorge was originally used for agriculture in the 1800's. However, due to poor soil conditions and short growing seasons, the land became damaged, unproductive and undesirable and was therefore sold to the state in the 1930's for reforestation. Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation to manage lands acquired outside the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Management, as defined by these laws, includes watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, recreation and kindred purposes. Today, with the help of DEC foresters, Hoxie Gorge State Forest provides a wide variety of recreational, economic, and ecological services for the people of New York State.
While the actual gorge for which Hoxie Gorge is named is located to the north of the forest, the stream that runs through the gorge does indeed begin within its boundaries and continues to wind peacefully through the property. Certain sections of the woods are so rich and dense that they have the ability to make travelers feel as if they are in another world. This setting provides an ideal atmosphere for hunting, hiking, and nature observation.
The thick and protective cover types, including northern hardwood, European and Japanese larch, Norway spruce, red pine and white cedar, create a safe haven for a varied collection of wildlife. Wild turkey, foxes, white tail deer, and an interesting array of song birds and small mammals are just some of the creatures the visitor may see. The forest has also been known to have large populations of ruffed grouse, which are particularly fond of the early successional habitat found in the forest.
Hoxie Gorge State Forest has a snowmobile trail, as well as a portion of the North Country Trail / Finger Lakes Trail located within its boundaries. Public Forest Access Roads off of Steve Russell Hill Road provide an additional 2.6 miles of recreational access.
***Stay Safe- Bring A Friend When Out on the Trails***
Hoxie Gorge State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 11 to Freetown Road. To reach the southern portion of the forest (Cortland #14), follow Freetown Road to Marihew Road, and then to Steve Russell Hill Road. Parking is available along the shoulder of the road but is limited.
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