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Guidelines for Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Be Kind to Nature

The Adirondack forests and mountains offer numerous opportunities for recreational pleasure, nature appreciation and an escape from the urban world. Help maintain the natural character of New York State’s Adirondack Forest Preserve for your enjoyment and those that follow.

Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Licenses Required

A license from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is required for fishing, hunting, and trapping. Licenses can be obtained from local clerks or online at


Please observe these simple guidelines:

Refuse – What you carry in, carry out. Leave the woods and river cleaner than you found them. Bring a garbage bag to carry out trash. Burying refuse is prohibited.

Fires – No fires are permitted, except for cooking, warmth or smudge. Choose bare level ground, clear away leaves and twigs for three feet and lay stones in a fire ring. Use only dead and downed wood. Be sure fires are extinguished before you leave. Better yet, carry a portable stove. Be careful with cigarettes and matches. Don’t leave garbage in the fire pit. Report unattended fires to the local forest ranger.

Camping – Unless the site is designated by a DEC sign, you must camp at least 150 feet from water, roads, and trails. Choose clear level ground to pitch your tent; disturb as little ground cover as possible. Respect other campers by keeping noise to a minimum and keeping your site clean. Carry a tent in case interior lean-tos are full. Obtain camping permits in advance from the local forest ranger.

Latrines – If there are no toilets nearby, dig a trench 8 inches deep; cover human waste completely when you break camp. Stay 150 feet away from (and below) any water supply.

Water Supply – Wash dishes and bathe away from and below sources of water. Dispose of waste water away from streams and springs. Do not drink untreated water.

Environment – Enjoy but do not remove or deface plants, animals, fossils, or rocks. Do not drive nails into trees, or peel birch bark.

Regulations – Observe posted regulations and be considerate of fellow recreationalists.

Firearms Do not discharge a firearm in a parking or camping area or across a road open for traffic.

Tips for a Safe Experience

Check weather reports before you set out.

Plan your trip according to routes and time available, carrying the latest guidebooks and maps.

Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Sign all trail registers.

Prepare for emergencies. Carry a day pack, compass, pocketknife, waterproof matches, candle, first-aid kit, rain gear and protective clothing, high energy food items, such as candy, and a flashlight with extra batteries.

In case of an accident, at least one person should remain with the injured. Others should carefully note the location and contact the local forest ranger to report a lost or injured companion.

If lost, keep calm, stay where you are and keep warm. If you think you can find your way out, following streams downhill will nearly always lead you to habitation. A Large smoky fire is the best means to signal your position.

Owners with dogs should consider fellow hikers so that restrictive measures will not be necessary to control pets. When others approach, leash your dog and keep him/her quiet. Keep him/ her out of sources of potable water. Remove droppings from the trails and campsite area.

Inhibit the spread of invasive plants and animals which have the potential to cause damage to our forests, lakes, streams and rivers. Transporting untreated firewood can spread diseases and invasive insects that can quickly kill large numbers of trees. To minimize threats to forests, do not bring untreated firewood from home to campgrounds or parks; get your firewood at the campground or a local vendor. To minimize threats to streams, rivers and lakes, inspect your boat, motor, trailer, auto undercarriage, all recreational equipment and fishing gear for attached plants and animals. If found, remove all aquatic plants and animals and discard them on dry land. Drain all water from your boat, motor, and equipment away from the access on dry land. Dispose all unwanted bait in the trash. It is critical that you do your part to reduce the impacts from these uninvited and unwanted guests.


Find More Information

For more information about guidelines, regulations, and safety in the outdoors, go to, email, or call (518) 402-8044.

Earn Badges, Complete Challenges, Make Memories

Pick your favorite trail and start there, or complete the Great 8 Challenge by hiking all 8 trails in any category to earn yourself a Great 8 badge!


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