A major outdoor recreational attraction on the Forest is the 7,647 acre Allegheny Reservoir. At normal summer pool level the reservoir is 27 miles long (14 miles in Pennsylvania and 13 miles in New York) with 91 miles of shoreline.
The undeveloped Allegheny Reservoir shoreline and National Forest System land surrounding the Reservoir provide the largest outdoor recreation opportunities in northwestern Pennsylvania. Highly developed infrastructure (e.g. paved roads, pressurized water systems, sewage treatment plants and electrical service) are in place to serve campgrounds with utilities, flush toilets and hot water showers. Other facilities include picnic areas, swimming beaches, and shoreline fishing opportunities and fishing piers.
The Reservoir was created in the 1960s when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Kinzua Dam on the upper Allegheny River. The reservoir water level and water surface is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The adjacent shoreline is primarily owned and managed in Pennsylvania by the U.S. Forest Service and in New York by the Seneca Nation of Indians, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and Cattaraugus County, NY.
Only a few private landowners exist on the New York shoreline. The Allegheny Reservoir is unique because very little private commercial development exists along its shoreline. The majority of the existing developed recreation sites on the PA portion of the Reservoir are operated and maintained by the Allegheny National Forest.