Forest Management on State Lands

Image of logs and foresters

There are 33 State Forests totaling about 175,000 acres in Connecticut. They are managed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Division of Forestry. The Division of Forestry seeks to develop a vigorous, resilient, forest environment capable of sustaining the wide range of demands that the public places on these lands. These demands include a variety of recreational experiences, natural diversity (including threatened and endangered species), the preservation of unique sites (both geologic and archaeological), the provision of raw materials as forest products, and the maintenance of wildlife and fisheries habitats. The Division’s professional foresters work to ensure that these forests remain healthy and vigorous while serving the needs of the citizens of Connecticut.

Current and On-going Forest Management Projects and Activities

Connecticut’s woodlands offer many benefits and ecosystem services such as:

  1. Forest Ecosystem Health and Diversity – Healthy and diverse forest ecosystems provide highly functional, valuable, and a resilient mix of habitats for plants and animals.
  2. Wildlife Habitat – Many of Connecticut’s wildlife species, both common and rare, use different kinds of forested habitats. It is important to create a variety of habitats for animals that have different needs.
  3. Climate Change Mitigation through Sequestration and Storage – As climate change continues to be an important global issue, Connecticut’s State Forests can mitigate climate change by sequestering and storing carbon in vegetation above and below ground and as long-lived wood products used locally and beyond.
  4. Environmental Protection – Connecticut’s State Forests provide environmental benefits such as cleaning the air, protecting and improving water quality, and contributing to soil health.
  5. Forest Protection – Managing Connecticut’s State Forests helps reduce susceptibility to threats such as wildfire, weather events, and invasive plants and insects, keeping them healthy and productive while minimizing spread to neighboring private forestlands.
  6. Economic Benefits – Sustainably harvesting forest products like timber, firewood, witch-hazel, and maple syrup from Connecticut’s State Forests provides jobs and raw material for a locally-sourced, forest-based, green economy. The State Forests provide a model for private forest landowners to consider when managing their properties.
  7. Recreational/Health Benefits – Recreation opportunities abound across Connecticut’s State Forest system providing a local and economical way to stay healthy and active for Connecticut’s residents and guests.

Silvicultural treatments before and after headline image

Clearcut Treatment
Oak Shelterwood Establishment Harvest
White Pine Thinning
White Pine Plantation Thinning
Irregular Shelterwood Harvest

A Reminder to those Recreating in CT's State Forests:

The CT Blue-Blazed Trail System is for foot traffic only. Please respect CT Statute Sec. 23-10a and refrain from mountain bike and horse back riding. The portions of this trail system that cross State property are maintained by CT Forest and Park Association volunteers and are designated as hiking trails. Thank you for your cooperation.

State Forest Management Plans

Forestry work scheduled within the approved 10 year Forest Management Plan may extend beyond the Plan's end date as these activities often take several years to complete.  The Division of Forestry does not initiate new silvicultural treatments outside of Forest Management Plan timeframe.  Adaptive forest management may take place at any time in response to unforeseen circumstances such as disease outbreaks, fire, or storm damage that cause an immediate forest health of public safety concern.

Invitations to Bid 
State Forest Maps 

 

Current and On-going Forest Management Projects and Activities

American Legion State Forest, Barkhamsted

A timber harvest was initiated by the DEEP Forestry Division in American Legion State Forest on April 25, 2022. Access to the sale is from the end of Yarmoshuk Road in Barkhamsted. Signs notifying the public of the work are posted at the gate at the end of Yarmoshuk Road. The area is not closed, but please aware of the logging activity (see map of harvest area). The harvest is a 47-acre thinning. The stand is currently overstocked and a thinning will improve growing conditions for favored trees. White ash being attacked by the invasive emerald ash borer will also be salvaged within the sale area. This work was prescribed in the 2014-2024 Management Plan for American Legion State Forest and a public informational tour was provided to the public in September 2020.

Salmon River State Forest: Grayville Trails

Two public meetings regarding the future of the Grayville Trail network in Salmon River State Forest were held via Zoom on Thursday, February 3, 2022. Trail issues within the Grayville section of the forest were presented in the Salmon River State Forest: Blackledge Block Forest Management Plan and considerable interest was expressed during public outreach efforts. The goal of this meeting was to present and discuss trail network authorization options that meet recreational demand without compromising the natural resources of the forest. Meeting participants were asked to provide feedback on the different trail network options. Feedback received will help shape future trail management decisions for this section of State forestland.

 

Wyantenock State Forest, Woodville Block, Warren

Cerulean Warbler

A DEEP Forestry Division timber harvest is beginning in February 2022 in the Woodville Block of Wyantenock State Forest in Warren, off Route 341 (Sale W-429). A 27-acre area is being converted to uneven-aged management through single-tree and small group selection cutting, retaining the best quality trees of all species and sizes. The varied size openings will encourage new regeneration on the forest floor, as well as brushy habitat that includes berry-producing plants. Retained trees and new openings in the forest are intended to benefit the cerulean warbler, a Connecticut Species of Special Concern that is believed to occur in the vicinity.

While small compared to many DEEP logging operations, it poses topographic and access challenges, as well as an atypical configuration (see map), and will be not be completed as quickly as the acreage may imply. The logger who purchased the timber sale will be hand-cutting and using a cable skidder.

During the duration of this operation, the public parking area off Route 341 will be closed to the public and be used as a log landing. The road system through the gate will also be closed to recreational use. This includes foot traffic, bikes, and horseback. Signs will be posted at the entrance and parking area.

 

Current Closures Due to Timber Harvest Operations (Updated April 2022)
  • Wilderness Road, hunter parking area, and the road system through the gate, are closed in the West Hartland Block of Tunxis State Forest, Hartland. There is logging along the road and forwarding on the road; the public parking area is being used as a log landing. (Map of Harvest W-433).
  • The entire east side of Stone Road in Nassahegon State Forest, Burlington, is closed to the public, except for the Blue-blazed Trail. The larger parking area near the north end of Stone Road (mountain biker parking) is also closed as it is needed for a log truck turnaround. (Map of Harvest W-432).

 

Other Resources

State Forest Firewood Program

Habitat Management at Wildlife Management Areas and State Forests

Why We Manage Connecticut State Forests 

Bidders Manual for the Sale of Forest Products from State-Owned Lands

Sustainable Yield on Timberland Managed by the Division of Forestry

Letterboxing in Connecticut State Forests 

Bird Checklist for Naugatuck State Forest

 

Massacoe Block Timber Harvest July 2020

Content last updated on April 27, 2022.