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Soil & Water Forestry


County Forest Land (map of County Forest locations


In 2004 the St. Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) assumed the role of the County Forestry Department. St. Lawrence County currently owns and manages 4,270 acres of forest property. This land consists of thirty-eight parcels located in ten different towns. The stewardship of these forest lands is ensured by the SWCD Forester who plans, directs, and implements natural resource conservation, management and development.

On county land, multiple use management is the guiding principal. Focus is on maintaining a healthy forest stand, while still allowing recreational use, wildlife management, and watershed protection. Management activities including maintaining trails, roads, boundary lines, and timber stand improvement. Land misuse and garbage are a concern, as well as threats to forest health from insects and disease.


In 2013 the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators passed the Rules for Use St. Lawrence County Lands.  These rules are shown below and may also be found at the link: Rules for Use of St. Lawrence County Land

                                                               I.  Introduction

a.         Except as otherwise provided, the provisions of these Rules shall apply to all persons entering upon or using St. Lawrence County owned lands that are administered by the Soil and Water Conservation District, including but not limited to lands designated unique areas, reforestation areas, and multiple use areas.

b.         Definitions. As used in this Chapter, the following words shall have the indicated meanings:

1. County shall mean St. Lawrence County.

2. County Lands mean parcels owned by St. Lawrence County. 

3. District shall mean St. Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District.

4. Person with a disability means a person with a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such person.

5. Bicycle shall mean any self-propelled vehicle.

6. Motor vehicle shall mean a device for transporting personnel, supplies or material incorporating a motor or an engine of any type for propulsion.

7. Motorized equipment means devices not designed for transporting personnel, supplies or material, but incorporating a motor, or an engine of any kind to accomplish a task, such as, but not limited to, chain saws, brush saws, rotary or other mowers, rock drills, and generators.

8. Forest Access means a road or path cleared in the forest for current or prior logging or forest management operations. 

9.  A Trail is a linear progression of points laid out and specifically marked for public use.

10.  A Parking Area is a designated location for the parking, stopping, standing, and unloading of ATVs, cars, trailers, and other motor vehicles as defined by the Motor Vehicle and Traffic Law.  

11. Camp shall mean any form of temporary shelter, including but not limited to a tarp, tent, travel trailer, or motor vehicle used for shelter or sleeping.

12. Structure shall mean any object or improvement constructed, installed or placed on County lands, including but not limited to trails, roads, bridges, ramps, buildings, lean-tos, picnic tables, monuments, memorials, permanent tree stands or permanent hunting blinds, posts, rails, handrails, steps, fences, pipelines, oil, gas and other well structures, septic systems, fuel tanks, utility lines (including but not limited to telephone, electric and cable), mobile homes, campers, trailers, signs, docks and dams.  Tents, campers, temporary blinds and other temporary objects used in authorized recreational activities shall not be considered structures for the purposes of this definition, if and when such objects are in compliance with rules governing authorized recreational activities on County lands.

II. Signs and Structures

a.         No person shall deface, mutilate, destroy or remove any County or District sign, structure, barrier or object.

b.         No person shall fail to comply with the instructions contained on a sign erected by the County or the District.

c.         No person shall discharge firearms on County lands posted or designated as closed to shooting.

d.         No person shall possess paint balls or paint ball guns on County lands, and no person shall sponsor, conduct or participate in any activities associated with the discharging of paint balls on County lands.

e.         No person shall erect or post any notice or sign upon County land at any time without prior authorization from the District.

f.          No person shall erect, construct, maintain, occupy or use any structure that is affixed to a tree by nails, screws or other means or is used, operated, accessed or reached by methods or means which injure or damage a tree.

g.         No person shall erect, construct, install, maintain, store, discard or abandon any structure or any other property on County lands or subsequently use such structure or property on County lands, unless the structure or property is authorized by the County or the District or is:

1. A geocache that is labeled with the owner's name and address and installed in a manner that does not disturb the natural conditions of the site where installed or injure a tree;

2. A camping structure or equipment that is placed and used legally pursuant to these Rules;

3. A legally placed trap or appurtenance that is placed on County land and used only during a legal trapping season;

4. A tree stand or hunting blind that does not injure a tree, is legibly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is only placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season; or

5. A wildlife viewing blind or stand that is placed for a period of time not to exceed thirty (30) days in one location in any calendar year, does not injure a tree, and is legibly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number.

III. DUMPING

a.         No person shall throw, dump, deposit or place or cause to be thrown, dumped, deposited or placed on or in any County lands or structures any refuse, trash, garbage, rubbish, litter or any nauseous or offensive matter. 

b.         No person shall possess or target shoot at breakable targets, including but not limited to clay pigeons and glass containers, on County lands.

IV. Fire

a.         No person shall deposit any lighted materials where they will cause fire.

b.         No person shall set, light, use or maintain a fire or campfire of any kind on County lands which are posted or designated by the County to prohibit fires, or campfires or both. Under no circumstances are fires or campfires allowed on any forest access road, trail or parking area on County lands.

c.         No person shall set, light, use or maintain a fire or campfire or use liquid or gaseous fuel camping stoves or lamps on County lands during periods of high fire danger designated by the County or District.

d.         No wood, except from dead and down trees or from local firewood merchants located within a 50 mile radius and the fire site, shall be used for fuel.

e.         No fires are permitted except for cooking, warmth or smudge. No fire shall be lit until all flammable material has been removed from the fire’s perimeter. No fires shall be left unattended until extinguished. Fires shall be limited to 3’ in diameter.

V.  Camping

a.         Temporary camping is permitted on County lands; however, no improved campsites are provided by the County. 

b.         Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water.

c.         Areas used for temporary camping and adjacent lands must be kept in a neat, clean and sanitary condition. Garbage must be removed from County land and properly disposed of.

d.         Any camping exceeding three days requires a permit from the County.  Any tent or other camping structure left unoccupied for more than 48 hours may be taken down or removed by the County or the District.

VI. Trails

a.         No person shall enter, remain upon or use any forest access, facility, or any other area on County lands that are posted or designated by the County as closed to public use.

b.         No person shall cut or remove trees or saplings for the purpose of creating forest access on areas of County lands not already cleared or constructed by the County or District.  

c.         The use of toboggans, sleds, ATVs and snowmobiles on ski trails is prohibited.

d.         The operation of snowmobiles and ATVs on County land is permitted only on designated trails.  ATV use is prohibited from September 27 – April 1 or later if trails are wet.  Snowmobile use is only from December 15 – March 31.

e.         No person shall operate a vehicle in excess of posted speed limits on any forest access roads, or trails within the county reforestation areas.

f.          The riding, driving or leading of horses will be permitted anywhere on County lands unless otherwise prohibited by law, regulation, posted notice or this subdivision. No person shall ride or permit a horse on:

1. Foot trails, except where such trails are part of a publicly maintained road, or are specifically designated to allow travel by horses thereon; and

2.  Designated snowmobile trails and cross-country ski trails that are covered with ice or snow.

VII. General

a.         No person shall deface, remove, destroy or otherwise injure in any manner whatsoever any tree, flower, shrub, fern, fungi or other plant organisms, moss or other plant, rock, soil, fossil or mineral or object of archaeological or paleontological interest found on or growing on County land, except for personal consumption or pursuant to a permit issued by the County or the District. 

b.         No person shall, while on County land or waters:

1. Intentionally obstruct, prevent or attempt to prevent any officers or employees of the County or District from performing their legal duties, by means of intimidation, physical force, interference or disobedience of any lawful order or by means of any independently unlawful act;

2. Intentionally expose the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner;

3. Obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof;

4. Engage in fighting or violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or

5. Engage in any other activity which violates the Penal Law.

c.         No person under 21 years of age shall possess alcoholic beverages.  Persons age 21 or over who possess alcoholic beverages must produce adequate identification and proof of age upon demand.

d.         The sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on all County lands except for sales by concessionaires when such sales are provided for in concession agreements.

e.         The use of County lands or any structures or improvements thereon for private revenue-producing or commercial purposes is prohibited.

f.          On County lands, no person shall sponsor, conduct or participate in any organized event involving more than eight people and lasting more than one hour, unless authorized by the District in advance of the event. Examples of organized events include, but are not limited to: sponsored hikes; archery and fishing tournaments; snowmobile, bicycle, horse and orienteering races, runs, rides or competitions (including biathlons and triathlons); encampments; and re-enactments.

g.         No person shall sponsor, conduct or participate in: weddings, advertising, commercial film making activities or film making activities that exclude other public use of County lands in the area, and other similar events, without first obtaining a permit from the County.

h.         No person shall use any portion of County lands for agricultural purposes, including but not limited to the grazing of cattle or domestic animals of any kind thereon, unless they have made arrangements with the County to do so.

i.          No person shall sponsor, conduct or participate in any research project on County lands with out first obtaining permission from the County. Examples of research include, but are not limited to wildlife population studies, collection of scientific samples, placement of scientific instruments, seismic exploration and archaeological studies.


The St. Lawrence County Soil & Water Conservation District would like to remind users of County land that when using it, please follow the practice of: If you carry it in, you carry it out. Here is the SLC SWCD's policy to address complaints of trash along the trails on County Parcels:

    SLC SWCD Trash along the Trails Policy (link to document)


Private Forestry

The SWCD Forester assists the residents of the County with forestry concerns.  The Forester is able to complete site visits and answer questions about their trees and overall forest health.

Please call 315-386-3582 for more information