Stockton State Forest consists of 977 acres of deciduous forest, conifer plantations, and marshes bisected by a stream. It is owned and managed by the State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation. You can find it on the DEC website here with a map page here and a PDF map here. Apart from birding, hiking and other wildlife watching snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, horseback riding and hunting are all permitted at applicable times in Stockton State Forest. It is also one of the sites included in our Winter Trails Cell Phone Tour.
Natural History Interest
The valleys and ridges here have a north-northwest/south-southeast orientation, parallel to the direction the glacier apparently moved as it buried the landscape. Stockton State Forest occupies the highlands that separate the Chautauqua Lake and Cassadaga Creek watersheds. Coes Road follows this divide so that when going north through the forest the Cassadaga valley is on the right and the Chautauqua Lake basin is on the left. Marshy wetlands form the headwaters of tributaries on either side of the road. From one of these wetlands a stream flows east to meet Bear Lake Outlet, descending some 400 feet through a shale creek bed for a little over two miles. The valley floor is scattered with erratics, rounded cobbles and boulders of foreign rock dumped here by the glacier.
Who To Contact
DEC lists contact numbers for the site as the State Forest Office (Monday through Friday, 8AM -4 PM): (716) 363-2052 and Forest Ranger (Evenings, Weekends and Holidays): (716) 771-7180
How To Get There
Stockton State Forest is located just south of Stockton, NY, and between Mayville and Sinclairville, NY. Heading west on I-86, as you approach Veteran’s Memorial Bridge bear right onto NY 430 west and go 1.2 miles to Exit 10. At the end of the exit ramp turn right, then left onto Bayview Road, which becomes Coes Road, approximately 6 miles to the intersection of County Road 54. Either go straight or turn right onto County Road 54, then left onto Maring Road to reach the forest.
What To See
Baseline data for all forms of life is still being collected at Stockton State Forest after a few initial visits by RTPI staff. To view the eBird hotspot of the site complete with recent bird sightings click on this link. To view an eBird bar chart page of all recorded sightings click on this link. The woodland valley through which the stream runs is filled with wildflowers in the spring. Entering the State Forest on Maring Road, which bisects the State Forest north-south, and descending the ravine (heading east) from Maring Road, one may encounter Spring Beauty, Cut-leaved Toothwort, May-apple, Sharplobed Hepatica, Round-leaved Yellow Violet, Yellow Trout Lily, Blue Cohosh, and many other species depending on the timing. Butterflies recorded include Silver-spotted Skipper, Great Spangled Fritillary and Red Admiral.
The marshes provide habitat for swallows, ducks, and Beavers. Late summer and early fall surveys found the potential for a diverse resident population, abundant Neotropical nesting birds and many migratory species. There will undoubtedly be the potential to find warblers, vireos, flycatchers, orioles and raptors of many species breeding in Stockton State Forest. We surmise over 200 bird species could be found with regular surveys over the next decade. The variety of water habitats present also mean that odonates, as of yet unsurveyed, should be present in both abundant and diverse numbers.
Why It’s Important To Conservation
Vast woodlands filled with marshes and stream habitat that provide ample living space for a diverse assortment of flora and fauna make Stockton State Forest an important conservation area. Apart from wildlife habitat the site provides watershed protection and still serves as a conifer and hardwood timber production area that is actively managed by the DEC. These management practices for thinning the forest at varying intervals in different sections helps to maintain its overall health and keep new generations of plants and trees growing to continue the cycle of life at all levels.