History of Sterling Forest

Sterling Forest is a large wooded area located in the southeastern part of New York State, about 50 miles north of New York City. The forest has a long and fascinating history, beginning with its use by Native American tribes and continuing through to the present day.

The area that is now Sterling Forest was once home to the Munsee Lenape, a Native American tribe who lived in the region for thousands of years. The Lenape hunted, fished, and farmed in the area, and used the forest for shelter and for materials to make tools and weapons.

In the 18th century, the forest was owned by the Sterling Iron Works, a company that operated a large iron mine in the area. The mine provided iron ore for the American Revolution, and the Sterling Iron Works played a critical role in the war effort. After the war, the ironworks continued to operate and expanded its operations, including the production of locomotive wheels and cannonballs.

In the early 20th century, the forest became a popular destination for outdoor recreation. The Sterling Forest State Park was established in 1998, encompassing more than 21,000 acres of land. The park offers hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping opportunities, as well as fishing, boating, and hunting.

Today, Sterling Forest is recognized as an important natural resource, home to a diverse array of wildlife and plant species. The forest is also a critical source of drinking water for the New York City region, with the Sterling Lake Reservoir providing clean, fresh water to millions of people.

The forest is also an important cultural resource, with several historic structures located within its boundaries, including the remains of the Sterling Iron Works and the ruins of the original 18th-century iron furnace. The Sterling Forest Interpretive Center offers exhibits and educational programs that explore the natural and cultural history of the area, making it a popular destination for visitors from around the world.


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