Upstate New York is known for its vast areas of State Forest, which enables people to visit these lands and enjoy nature. Most people that are not from Upstate New York, and even many that are, believe that the “great outdoors” can mainly be found in the Adirondacks. And yes, this is in all reality true, but there are many other great state forests in Upstate New York that many do not even know exist.
Growing up in the “Greater Binghamton” area, I was also unaware of these State Forests, and what I was missing out on. I recently visited two of these State Forests. One was located in Owego, NY, and is known as Oakley Corners State Forest. The other one, which is located in Windsor, NY, is known as Hawkins Pond State Forest. These two parks, which are approximately 15 miles from the Binghamton area, provide trails for hiking, cross country skiing, and mountain biking.
During my visit through Oakley Corners State Forest, which contains 15 miles of hiking trails, I came across lands untouched and undisturbed by human interaction. Besides the trails and trail markers, nature was still in tact. Seeing many types of birds and mammals, I was astonished at the natural beauty of this place. And only 15 minutes away from home, what a great place to visit!
Hawkins Pond also provided me with a short get away from the reality of suburban life. As I heard the birds signing and the frogs splashing in the water as I walked by the pond, it felt as though I had gone back in time. If only nature could have been left the way it had been!
These State Forests provide a great way to escape and enjoy nature, not far from home. My visit to these two Forests is just the beginning of my ventures to these types of places. Below are links to the States website, where you can find a State Forest that is close to you. Go check it out!
Link to the map