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*

*The Division of Forestry will only accept bids from individuals and entities on the registered Bidders List.  The application for the Bidders List and additional information is available in the Bidders Manual For The Sale of Forest Products From State-Owned Lands.

State Forest Maps 

 

Current and On-going Forest Management Projects and Activities

Public parking area and access roads closed to the public within the Woodville Block of Wyantenock State Forest 

The public parking area and access roads at the Woodville Block of Wyantenock State Forest are closed to the public until further notice for safety, due to active logging equipment and log truck loading in the parking area (area map).  This may be a long duration closure.  This area is off of Route 341 about a mile and a half from Route 202, in the town of Warren.

The Forestry Division operation is nearly 100 acres of harvest for selection cutting, first shelterwood to regenerate new trees, and a thinning.  Both even-aged and uneven-aged management is being used.  This contributes to the current management plan goals of diversifying age classes of forest, including providing for more New England cottontail and early successional bird habitat.  It will also create forest with a more complex understory and midstory to diversify habitats for migratory bird specialists, and will begin to produce a more mixed species forest, for climate change resilience and greater resistance to spongy moth outbreaks like we just had in the northwest hills.  It will provide an assortment of locally-sourced, high quality forest products as a byproduct of silviculture and wildlife goals.

For more details or questions, contact DEEP Forester, david.irvin@ct.gov or 860-462-8961.

Culvert Replaced along DelReeves Road within Meshomasic State Forest 

A culvert replacement project that began in late September 2022 on DelReeves Road within Meshomasic State Forest in East Hampton is completed and the road is open to public use.

The original culvert, which carried Mott Hill Brook under DelReeves Road, was scoured out at the outlet, blocking brook trout from moving further up the watershed beyond the culvert. As a result, DEEP's Engineering and Support Services, Fisheries, and Forestry Divisions collaborated to replace the culvert to allow for fish passage, as well as increase water flow capacity as the brook has washed out the road on several occasions during periods of very high water flow (such as during and immediately after a tropical storm or hurricane). With the new box culvert, the road will be less likely to wash out during periods of high water flow and native brook trout will be better able to migrate upstream and use portions of the Mott Hill Brook above this culvert.

The Mott Hill Brook culvert on DelReeves Road in Meshomasic State Forest before it was replaced.

The Mott Hill Brook culvert under DelReeves Road in Meshomasic State Forest before it was replaced in 2022.

The new Mott Hill Brook culvert on DelReeves Road in Meshomasic State Forest, which was replaced in 2022.

The new box culvert installed under DelReeves Road in Meshomasic State Forest.

A view from DelReeves Road in Meshomasic State Forest of the new Mott Hill Brook culvert, which was replaced in 2022.

A view of the new box culvert from DelReeves Road in Meshomasic State Forest.

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.

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

Content last updated on January 3, 2024.