Covering approximately 275 square miles in parts of Northern Oswego, Lewis, Southern Jefferson and Northern Oneida counties, the core dense forest of the Tug Hill is considered one of the most remote areas in New York State.
Known for its traditional hunting and forestry activities, it’s home to scattered hunting camps and logging roads. In addition, the breathtaking forestlands that surround the region’s core beckon for exploration.
Heavily forested, the area has historically served as a bountiful source for wood products and paper manufacturing. Still considered “working lands” by generations of loggers, many parts of this region are filled with year-round recreational opportunities.
Natural Resource Protection
The headwaters of several major rivers in the Tug Hill region are protected by the core forest, including the Salmon River, which has grown into a premier destination for anglers of all ages and abilities. Each year, thousands of men and women travel to the legendary Salmon River to fish for salmon in the fall and steelhead trout in the spring.
Small and Rural Communities
While most of Tug Hill’s residents live along the edges, several smaller towns with crossroads like Montague, Redfield and Osceola, are nestled within the core forest. They may be some of the least populated in the state, but the stunning and pristine natural resources in these remote communities have created an extensive landscape for outdoor adventure in the Tug Hill region.
Over the years, conservation easements sold to the state Department of Environmental Conservation has allowed for visitors to access some of the most remote areas of Tug Hill for camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, and trapping, along with cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The core forest area offers some of the most serene and peaceful paddling experiences for canoeists and kayakers.
Talk about snow! A growing amount of winter tourism has developed in this area due to record-breaking snowfalls on the Tug Hill Plateau. The region’s infamous “lake effect snow” forms when frigid winds pick up moisture as they blow across Lake Ontario toward the higher elevations.
A new opportunity is being developed for visitors to experience more of the remote Tug Hill core forest, called the “Tug Hill Traverse Trail.” When the 20-mile trail is completed, it will be the first trail for hikers and cross-country skiers to cross through the “heart” of Tug Hill, providing an opportunity to explore portions of the plateau not been accessible by foot in the past.
The trail has many spots for fishing, primarily for brook trout, and viewing a range of wildlife, including different bird species, white-tailed deer, otters and beavers.
There are currently trailheads at the southern end of the trail off Michigan Mills Road, and the northern end of the trail off G&W Road, both in West Turin.
No matter where you decide to start your adventure in Tug Hill’s core forest, the memories of its pristine natural beauty will stay with your family for generations!
Did You Know?
- At one time the Tug Hill forests were so dense, it was difficult to see daylight when the loggers walked through them because many of the trees had never been cut down.
- In the early days, timber was harvested from Tug Hill by workers using cross-cut saws and work horses. Today, chainsaws, loaders, skidders, and other newer machinery are used to bring timber out from the core forest.