The Town of Charleston is the only town in Montgomery County that does not border the Mohawk River. What it has in abundance is forest. The Charleston State Forest contains a large portion of what was called the Clarke Lands. James Clarke, the original grantee, had a three-life lease with the tenants on the land, but when that lease expired in the 1840s, his great-grandson raised the rent. This was during the height of the anti-rent wars and many of the tenants not only abandoned the land, but also burned down the houses and barns they had built rather than let Clarke’s great grandson benefit from them. The Town of Charleston lost over two thirds of its population in the next 60 years.
The 4,600-acres of the Charleston State Forest include much of this land, which went back to nature. It also includes The Warrior Trail, a path running north to south near the Waite Drive area that was said to be a major route for Mohawk Indians to access the Mohawk River and the Sara Lib/Gordon Road area, which was reportedly used as a Tory training ground during the Revolutionary War. While plowing a fire break in the area in the 1950’s, a Revolutionary War Era sword was found in the ground and is still housed in the Charleston Town Historical Society Museum.
The land is open all year for fishing, mountain biking, hiking, hunting, camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and exploration.
Route 30 A south of Fultonville