The Forest Service manages three state forests totaling more than 20,000 acres; Blackbird Forest near Smyrna, Taber Forest near Harrington, and Redden Forest near Georgetown. The forests are managed for a variety of objectives including: timber production, wildlife habitat enhancement, forest management demonstration, and recreational opportunities. Blackbird and Redden contain our northern and southern field offices, outdoor educational trails, and wildland fire suppression equipment. All three state forests are open to the public for a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and in-season hunting. Off-road vehicles, including electronic bicycles, are prohibited in all State Forests, whether they are registered or unregistered.
For more information: James Dobson
Blackbird State Forest, located on the border of New Castle and Kent Counties, is Delaware’s northernmost state forest and only a 30-minute commute from Wilmington and Newark. It has ten tracts totaling over 6,000 acres and contains a mixture of oaks, yellow-poplar, maple, gums, and hickories. Our northern regional office is located on the Tybout Tract on Blackbird Forest Road.
Blackbird is a popular site for outdoor recreation. Its 40 miles of trails are used extensively for hiking, running, bicycling, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. There is also a 2,200-foot paved nature trail designed for wheelchair accessibility. The trail system at Blackbird interconnects eight primitive campsites and four picnic sites. Tent camping requires reservations and costs $25 per night for each campsite. Blackbird is also open to hunting and catch-and-release fishing.
For more information: Chris Miller
Taber State Forest lies in southwestern Kent County and is the smallest of Delaware’s State Forests at 1,309 acres. It is managed primarily for timber production and wildlife habitat. Situated in a secluded, rural setting, Taber is a very popular hunting site. The major timber types on Taber State Forest are loblolly pine and mixed upland hardwoods.
For more information: Erich Burkentine
Redden State Forest, Delaware’s largest at more than 12,900 acres, is located in central Sussex County just north of Georgetown. Loblolly pine is the primary tree species on the forest, although Redden also has stands of mixed hardwoods, including oaks, maple, and gum.
With over 44 miles of trails, the 18 tracts of Redden State Forest are popular for hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, and bird watching. Redden’s large timbered tracts are also ideal for deer hunting. Our southern regional office is located at the Headquarters Tract on East Redden Road. This tract also has a limited number of primitive camping sites and a small, catch-and-release fishing pond. The Headquarters Tract also contains a natural resource education facility, formerly a historic carriage house, which opened in 2000 (for more information see the Forestry Education page of our website). Additionally, the historic Redden Lodge, renovated in 1996, is open to the public at a nominal cost. Weekend, daily, and night reservations are available. The Lodge has a complete kitchen and is handicapped-accessible although overnight visitors must bring their own sleeping bags or cots, as there are no sleeping facility.
Redden Lodge Rental Application includes information on Rental Fees, Rules, and Lodge Checklist