Know Your Park’s Rules: Erie County Parks and Forestry

Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry

Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry

Residents of Erie County, New York, are fortunate to have twelve major county parks and four major county forests to enjoy.

The four county forests, Boston Forest, Gulf Wilderness Forest, 18-Mile Creek forest, and the Erie County Forestry, offer exceptional year round hiking. snowshoeing, and cross country skiing.

The trails in those parks have been created, marked, and are maintained by the efforts of local outdoor groups, including the Foothills Trail Club, The WNY Mountain Biking Association, and the Boy Scouts.  We all get to enjoy the fruits of their sweat and toil without charge.

The county parks and forest lands are governed by the same set of rules, which are set forth below.  In addition the county forest lands specifically prohibit “camping, hunting, open fires, off road bicycling and motorized vehicles … on the Bureau of Forestry properties.”  Bureau of Forestry Home Page

Additional information about Erie County parks and forestry lands can be obtained from reading the 2003 Erie County Parks Master Plan.  Note, however, that Beeman Creek Park is no longer a County owned facility as it was sold to the Town of Clarence under an agreement that requires access be maintained for all county residents (unlike other Clarence town parks which are closed to all but Town of Clarence residents.)  A list of the developed parks and links to each can be found at Erie County Parks List.

Enjoy the parks and forest.  Use them often.  Explore every nook and cranny.  There is a lot to enjoy and explore even within the confines of the existing rules.

Erie County Parks Policies & Procedures

 PROCEDURES
  • SHELTERS & CAMPSITES: To check campsite or shelter availability, you may call 716.858.8355 or submit an electronic request by clicking here. Campsite fees are $15/night for NON-ELECTRIC site, and $22/night for an ELECTRIC site. Shelter reservation fees vary.
  • EVENTS: To inquire about holding an event in a park(s) please complete the event permit application form here. Once you complete the form, your application will be reviewed and responded to accordingly. SOME events Erie County Parks have hosted include but are not limited to the list below:
    • RECREATIONAL (SEASONAL & ONE-TIME EVENTS)
    • CROSS-COUNTRY & WINTER SPORTS EVENTS
    • FUNDRAISERS or any other type of use for the parks and/or facilities, please call 716.858.7037
  • BOUNCEHOUES, TENTS, AND/OR OTHER VARIOUS OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT: – Please submit an Outdoor Recreational Equipment Application for review or call 716.858.7037 to discuss your plans for permit consideration. Thank you.

Certain activities may require a certificate of insurance be provided in order to be permitted. For more details please call 716.858.7037.

PARK RULES

1. Park Hours: 7am -Dusk (Winter Hours: Labor Day through Memorial Day) or 9pm (Summer Hours: Memorial Day through Labor Day). Reserved shelters & buildings are accessible from 10am – Park Close.

2. Shelters are by reservations only. The quantity of people at shelter must not exceed the shelter limits.

3. Reservations (shelter & camping) may be made by calling 716.858.8355 or by submitting an electronic request by clicking HERE!

4. Reservation Fees are not transferable or refundable. THERE ARE NO REFUNDS. A fee will be assessed if a check is returned for nonsufficient funds.

5. Preservation of Property: Destruction or defacing of park property is prohibited. Please remove signs at the end of your event. Use of staples, nails and tacks is prohibited.

6. Traffic and Parking:

a. Speed limit is 15 mph.

b. NO parking more than 5 feet off roads or where prohibited by sign.

c. Driving off roadways is prohibited.

7. Fires shall be allowed only in grills, camping facilities and fire circles provided for that purpose, or grill furnished by Park patrons. All Fires shall be extinguished before leaving the site.

8. Garbage and Refuse: Littering and Dumping are prohibited. Please use carry-in/carry-out principle and place all garbage in proper refuse containers.

9. Dogs: Must be licensed and kept on leash at ALL TIMES. YOU MUST CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG. Dogs are not allowed on county beaches.

10. Alcoholic Beverages: Beer and wine are by permit only. Shelter permit allows beer and wine. No other alcoholic beverages allowed.

11. All glass containers are prohibited.

12. Unreasonably loud noise or music and disorderly conduct is prohibited.

13. Bouncehouses and Tents are by Permit only. Call 716.858.7037 for more information.

14. Commercial Enterprises and Large Events: are prohibited without a permit issued by the Parks Commissioner or his duly appointed agent.

15. Bicyclists: Must wear helmet at all times.

16. Hunting and Trapping: is prohibited in all County Park land. Fishing shall be allowed only in season and where posted.

17. Firearms: Carrying or discharging of firearms is prohibited.

18. ATV’s and snowmobiles:  Must be insured and registered and remain on designated trails only.

a. ATVs are allowed only in Chestnut Ridge Park in designated outlying trails and by permit only.

b. All rules of permit must be followed. Call 858-8355/ www.erie.gov/parks.

19. Horses and Riders: prohibited except on designated trails at Country Forestry Saw Mill/ Sugar Shack Area (Genesse Rd, Sardinia) and Hunters Creek Park (AKA Sgt. Mark A. Rademacher Memorial Park).

20. Mountain Biking: Prohibited except on designated trails at Sprague Brook Park and Hunters Creek Park (AKA Sgt. Mark A. Rademacher Memorial Park).

21. Do not cut or destroy any trees, plant life or disturb wildlife.

22. DECORATIONS: May be applied with sticky-tac only.  Absolutely no tape, tacks, staples or nails can be used at any time.  Nothing can be affixed to ceilings or fans.  Tableclothes can not be stapled or tacked to table.  Absolutely NO HELIUM BALLOONS. Any damage caused by using unauthorized items will be charged back to the permit holder.