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New York
Finger Lakes Region
Bear Swamp State Forest
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Located on two state forests of 3,316 acres in Cayuga County, this area is known for the large wetland and creek that bisect the forest. The ski trail system, over 13 miles in length, was developed with volunteer help in the 1980's. The trail has since become increasingly popular.
History of the Area
Bear Swamp State Forest, located in Cayuga County, New York, has a rich history that dates back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by the Cayuga Nation, one of the six Native American nations that formed the Iroquois Confederacy.

During the 18th century, European settlers began to establish settlements in the region. In 1790, Samuel Bear, Sr., a Revolutionary War veteran, received a land grant that included much of the present-day forest area. The swampy nature of the land led to it being referred to as Bear Swamp.

In the early 19th century, the region became a popular hunting ground due to its abundant wildlife, including bears. This attracted many hunters and trappers to the area. The land was eventually transformed into a profitable timber resource by the mid-1800s.

In the early 20th century, the state of New York recognized the ecological and recreational value of Bear Swamp and began acquiring land in the area. In 1923, the state established Bear Swamp State Reforestation Area, which was one of the first reforestation projects in the country.

The state continued to expand the forest, and in 1962, it was officially designated as Bear Swamp State Forest. The forest now spans over 3,000 acres, encompassing diverse habitats such as wetlands, hardwood forests, and conifer plantations.
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1. Bear Swamp Loop Trail: This is a 3-mile loop trail that offers scenic views of the forest and swamp areas, as well as opportunities for bird watching.

2. East Hill Recreation Way: A multi-use trail stretching over five miles through hardwood forests, open fields and wetlands with an easy to moderate difficulty level suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

3. West Shore Trail: Approximately two miles long offering stunning lake views along its path; it's perfect for those interested in fishing or picnicking by the water's edge.

4. North Country National Scenic Trail (Bear Swamp Section): Part of a larger national system spanning several states, this section within Bear Swamp State Forest covers about six miles featuring diverse terrain from marshy lowlands to steep hillsides covered in dense woods.

5. South Slope Pathway: An approximately one mile-long pathway providing access into deeper parts of the forest while also connecting other trails together allowing longer hikes if desired.

6. Ridge Runners' Delight Track: Roughly three-miles long track which takes you across rolling ridges filled with mature trees making it ideal during autumn when leaves change color creating breathtaking landscapes.

7. Bluebird Lane Hiking Route: Short but sweet half-a-mile route known among local birdwatchers due to frequent sightings bluebirds especially early mornings or late afternoons.

8. Bog Walk Nature Study Area: Although not strictly considered hiking per se, this boardwalk allows visitors explore unique bog ecosystem without disturbing delicate flora fauna living there.

9. Twin Ponds Exploration Course: Two-and-half mile course leading towards secluded twin ponds surrounded lush greenery where wildlife spotting common particularly deer rabbits.

10. Bear Creek Overlook Spur: Less than quarter-of-a-mile spur off main loop leads panoramic overlook spot overlooking entire creek valley below.
Bear Swamp State Forest in New York offers a variety of birding options for enthusiasts. The forest is home to over 100 species of birds, making it an ideal spot for bird watching and photography. Visitors can explore the various trails that wind through different habitats such as wetlands, hardwood forests and open fields where they may encounter diverse avian life.

The Raptor Trail provides opportunities to see hawks, eagles or owls while smaller songbirds like warblers and sparrows are often spotted along the Songbird Loop trail. Waterfowl including ducks, herons and kingfishers frequent areas near Bear Swamp Creek which runs through this state forest.

Birdwatchers should also look out for woodpeckers pecking away at tree trunks throughout the woodland area or catch sight of elusive nocturnal species during evening walks on designated night-birding routes within the park boundaries.

In addition to self-guided tours around these marked paths with binoculars in hand; guided group tours led by local ornithologists are occasionally available providing insights into specific seasonal migrations patterns among other interesting facts about resident feathered creatures inhabiting Bear Swamp State Forest's ecosystem.

For those interested in more than just observing from afar there's even opportunity here too - visitors might participate in annual events such as Christmas Bird Count contributing towards important citizen science projects tracking population trends across North America regionally & nationally alike!

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Area Cabins and Lodges
Song Mountain Resort
1 Song Mountain Rd
Tully, NY
(315) 696-5711

1. Start by heading west on Interstate 90 (I-90) from Albany.
2. Continue on I-90 for approximately 40 miles until you reach Exit 29A toward Little Falls/Herkimer.
3. Take the exit and merge onto NY-169 N/State Route 28 S towards Herkimer/Little Falls.
4. Follow NY-169 N/State Route 28 S for about a mile before turning left onto W Main Street/NY-5S E/NY -167N/South Washington Street.
5. Continue to follow this road as it turns into Mohawk Road and then continue straight onto Military Road after crossing over the Erie Canal Bridge.
6. After driving for around six miles, turn right onto Bear Rd/Bear Mountain Rd at the sign indicating "Bear Swamp State Forest."
7. Follow Bear Rd/Bear Mountain Rd for another two miles until you arrive at your destination - Bear Swamp State Forest.

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New York State Parks