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The Tug Hill Plateau is an upland region in upstate New Yorkmarker in the USAmarker, famous for heavy winter snow. The Tug Hill Region is west of the Adirondack Mountains and is separated from the Adirondacks by the Black River Valley. Although the region is and has traditionally been known as the Tug Hill Plateau since it is flat on top, it is actually not a plateau. Technically, the Tug Hill could more accurately be called a cuesta since it is actually composed of sedimentary rocks that tip up on one side, rising from about 350 feet on the west to over 2,000 feet in the east.

It is part of four Upstate New York counties: Jeffersonmarker, Lewismarker, Oneidamarker, and Oswegomarker.


Geography and Ecology

The Tug Hill region encompasses 150,000 acres (600 km²) of unbroken, generally second-growth, northern hardwood forest, and is drained by a vast network of streams. Despite their presence, many of the soils are poorly drained. Almost all soils have some combination of factors which make them unfavorable to agriculture -- shallow depth, stoniness, rough topography, poor or excessive drainage, strong acidity and low fertility. Although much of the area is controlled by New York State, small, privately owned parcels exist, and most permanent residences are located near state highways or maintained county roads. While hunting camps in the back country areas of the Tug Hill region that are maintained during the hunting season often do not possess electricity or indoor plumbing, the majority of permanent residences in the area feature these amenities. Few roads or villages exist in these more remote areas, and undeveloped reaches of the plateau are a haven for wildlife, including deer, rabbits, beavers, turkeys, fishers, bobcats, coyote, and the occasional black bear. Salmon, trout, bass, walleye, and waterfowl can be found in the Tug Hill's abundant waterways.

In addition, the Tug Hill region and its surrounding communities contains numerous attractions and recreational opportunities nestled in its many small villages and hamlets. You will find antique shops, flea markets, handmade furniture, gifts and crafts, fishing and hunting guide services, miles of snowmobile trails, restaurants, lodging, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, boating, canoing, both down hill and cross-country skiing, pure maple syrup products, numerous roadside produce stands and much more.


The Tug Hill region is renowned for its excessive snowfall. One interesting architectural feature related to this phenomenon can be found locally in some hunting camps: supplemental, second-floor entry doors. These are located directly above the ground-level front door, and such apertures are used when so much snow has accumulated that the ground-level door can not be accessed. Snow depths commonly reach five feet (one and a half meters) or more, on the level, and vastly deeper amounts are routine. The location of the region in relation to Lake Ontariomarker often creates ideal conditions for lake effect snow. The Tug Hill hamlet of Montague owns the single day New York State record of snowfall with 77 inches (6 feet, 5 inches) (almost 2 meters). Another Tug Hill village, Hooker (in Lewis County) holds the state record for annual snowfall. Hooker also received an extraordinary accumulation of snow in the winter of 1976-77, with a total accumulation of 466.9 inches – approximately 39 feet (almost 12 meters).

On February 10, 2007 the National Weather Service reported that the Town of Parish had received 100 inches (more than 2.5 meters) of snow over a seven day span, while the village of Redfieldmarker received 141 inches (more than 3.5 meters) of snow over a ten day span of February 3-February 12, 2007. In 1977 a huge blizzard struck the Tug Hill Plateau and dumped 97 inches in the small village of Carthage.

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