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Camp DeBruce

About Camp DeBruce

Several cabins at Camp DeBruce sit among the trees
Cabins at Camp DeBruce
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For campers ages 11-13 Weeks 3-7

*NEW in 2018* Campers ages 14-17 Weeks 1 and 2

Camp DeBruce is situated on over 300 acres adjacent to the Catskill Forest Preserve. Formerly a private estate and fish hatchery, DEC acquired Camp DeBruce in the 1940s and converted it into a conservation education camp. DeBruce was the second DEC Summer camp open, and is the longest-running of the four camps in operation today. It is within walking distance of natural forests, trout streams, the Catskill Fish Hatchery and Mongaup Pond State Public Campsite. It sits among some high quality trout streams and fly fishing remains a popular activity at the camp today.

Adventure, Education, Fun! The DEC Camp Experience

A week at DeBruce promises fun and adventure in the beautiful Catskills. Sometimes campers are able to pick the activities they want to participate in from a handful being offered, while at other times everyone participates in the same game or activity.

A row of campers at the edge of a pond practice their fly-fishing skills
Campers learn fly-fishing at DeBruce

Lesson groups at camp cover a range of topics led by camp counselors with backgrounds in science, education, or recreation. Lessons might include examining insects and flowers in a nearby field or meadow, using nets to study macroinvertebrates and aquatic systems, or venturing into the forest to learn about diversity and forestry. Throughout the week campers engage in activities that emphasize basic ecological concepts about habitats, species identification, and how organisms and habitats adapt to changes. They also consider environmental solutions through activities and scenarios that encourage campers to make decisions that mitigate their impacts on the environment around them.

Camp DeBruce is a short walk from the Catskill Fish Hatchery, and most weeks include a visit to the hatchery. While DeBruce doesn't have on-site swimming the camp makes trips to the nearby Mongaup Pond for swimming activities. Campers also have opportunities to try new skills, including archery, canoeing, fishing, birding, or taking a Sportsman Education class. Sportsman Education classes are limited and offer campers a chance to complete their safety certificates on the path to a hunting or trapping license. Visit the Sportsman Education at Camps page to learn more. Camp DeBruce also offers fly-tying and fly fishing lessons with the support of the local DeBruce flyfishing club, a program with a long standing history at Camp Debruce and its many trout strams.

Day trips at Debruce include hiking Catskill trails, canoeing or swimming at Mongaup Pond, or visits to nearby sites like the Catskill Mountain Fly Fishing Center and Museum as the week allows. Each week campers also go on one overnight trip and learn camping skills. Overnight trips at DeBruce frequently use camp sites within the Catskills in the nearby Big Indian Wilderness and Willowemoc Wild Forest areas.

Campers sit in a circle around their counselor beneath a large spruce tree and learn forest ecology
Forest ecology lesson at DeBruce

Of course, camp also includes skits by counselors and campers, songs, campfires, and recreation games to round out the week. Many of the activities at camp are from environmental education programs like Project Wild or Project Learning Tree, which allows campers to play games while further reinforcing ecological concepts. College-educated counselor staff guide all the activities, encouraging participation and respect among group members while interpreting the natural world for campers.

Visit our weekly camp schedule for 11-13 year olds or for 14-17 year olds page to get an idea of what at week at camp looks like.

Visit the How to Register for Camp web page to begin your Camp DeBruce adventure.

Directions to Camp DeBruce

Camp DeBruce
307 Mongaup Road
Livingston Manor, NY 12758

From the West:

map of nys with camp locations

Take I-90 East to Exit 39 (Syracuse/Fulton). Join onto I-690 East until you can get on the I-81 South ramp toward Cortland. Take I-81 South to the Route 17 Exit. Merge onto NY-17 East and continue to Exit 96, Livingston Manor. Turn right onto White Roe Lake Road and then a left onto Old NY -17. Then turn left onto Route 81, which becomes Route 82 (also known as DeBruce Road). Follow DeBruce Road for approximately six miles and look for the Mongaup Pond Campsite and DeBruce Environmental Education Camp sign. At the sign take a left onto Fish Hatchery/Mongaup Pond Road and Camp DeBruce is 1.5 miles on the left.

From the East and South:

Take the New York Thruway to Exit 16 (US 6/Route 17 toward Harriman). Merge onto US 6 until Route NY 17 West. Stay on NY 17 West until Exit 96, Livingston Manor. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left onto DeBruce Road. Follow DeBruce Road for approximately six miles and look for the Mongaup Pond Campsite and DeBruce Environmental Education Camp sign. At the sign take a left onto Fish Hatchery/Mongaup Pond Road and Camp DeBruce is 1.5 miles on the left.

From the North (Albany area):

Take the New York Thruway to Exit 19. Take Route 209 South to Ellenville, NY. Take Route 52 West to Liberty, NY. Take Route 17 West until Exit 96, Livingston Manor. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left onto DeBruce Road. Follow DeBruce Road for approximately six miles and look for the Mongaup Pond Campsite and DeBruce Environmental Education sign. At the sign take a left onto Fish Hatchery/Mongaup Pond Road and Camp DeBruce is 1.5 miles on the left.

Travel Time from Major Cities

Buffalo: 5 hours 15 minutes
Rochester: 4 hours
Syracuse: 2 hours 30 minutes
Albany: 2 hours
New York City: 2 hours 20 minutes


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    Albany, NY 12233-5256
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