Department of Environmental Conservation

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Summer Camps

Colby, DeBruce, Rushford, and Pack Forest

Watch a clip about DEC's summer camps and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

Why Choose a DEC Camp?

DEC camps combine environmental education, sportsman education and outdoor fun.

A group of campers standing on a mountain slope overlooking a lake
DEC camps instill a life-long passion for nature and
stewardship of natural resources.
  • We use a fun, hands-on approach to teach about the environment.
  • You'll learn outdoor skills as well as the essentials of backpacking, camping and canoeing.
  • You'll come away with a life-long passion for nature and a dedication to stewardship of our natural resources.

What's it like at an environmental ed camp?

Campers sitting on the rocky stream shore
Campers study streams and what
lives in them.

You'll explore New York's diverse habitats, and learn how human activities affect the environment. Campers solve challenges, learn environmental concepts, practice outdoor skills and spend the week immersed in nature.

All of the camps offer sportsman education classes, including hunting and archery. The Pack Forest camp also offers shooting sports for the 14 to 17 year-olds

See a typical week's schedule for Camps Colby, DeBruce and Rushford

See the Pack Forest weekly schedule

2017 Camp Schedules and Availability

A camp session runs Sunday through Friday. Campers may attend as many sessions as they wish, subject to availability. Check current availability at all four camps.

A hiker carries a large yellow backpack on the trail
Camp counselors have college-
level training in environmental
sciences or education.

About our Camp Counselors

Our counselors are well-educated and committed to providing a great experience for all campers. All environmental education camp counselors have at least two years of college in natural or biological sciences, natural resource conservation, environmental education or primary and secondary education. Our counselors are all certified in First Aid and CPR/AED and have had background checks performed on them.

Cost and Sponsorships

DEC camp costs $350 per camper, per week. Many campers are sponsored by local conservation organizations, hunting and fishing clubs and community groups. Talk with organizations in your area to find out if they offer sponsorships, and how to receive one. Click on the "register button" to use our online system and pick the week that's best for your child.

Help Support DEC Camps

DEC camp donation logo
Click above to make
a donation

You can now donate online (link leaves DEC website) to help support the camps program. Donations may also be made in memory of loved ones. Funds raised for camperships help underwrite the costs for youth that otherwise would be unable to attend.

The camp donations are handled by the NHT (Natural Heritage Trust (link leaves DEC website)). It is a 501 (c) (3) charitable trust created to receive and administer gifts in support of parks, land and water conservation and outdoor recreation in New York State. The NHT works with DEC to administer and raise private funds for the camp program. Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Click on the image at left to make a donation on line or follow the instruction below to donate by check.

Memorial donations should be sent to the DEC Camps account in the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT). The check should be made out to NHT, with DEC Camps written in the memo section. Please include a note with the name of the person in whose memory you are making the donation and the name of the family member who should receive a letter informing him or her of your contribution. Checks should be mailed to NHT Camps, c/o Director of Management & Budget Services, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-5010. NHT will send out acknowledgment letters to donors for tax purposes.

Learn More about Each Camp

Map of New York State showing the location of the camps
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Visit DEC's Summer Camps on Facebook!

Follow the links below to learn more about each camp. Campers must be the minimum age by December 1st of 2017 to attend.

  • Camp Colby (11 to 13 year-olds) in Franklin County, next to the Adirondack Forest Preserve
  • Camp DeBruce (11 to 13 year-olds) in the southern Catskills
  • Camp Rushford (11 to 13 and 14 to 17 year-olds) in Allegany County
  • Camp Pack Forest (11 to 13 and 14 to 17 year-olds) in the southern Adirondacks

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More about Summer Camps:

  • Camp Colby - This camp is located on the western shore of Lake Colby, just outside the Village of Saranac Lake.
  • Camp DeBruce - This camp is located in the Catskills, in Sullivan County about eight miles east of Livingston Manor, NY.
  • Camp Rushford - This camp is located on the Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area in Allegany County about two miles southwest of Rushford Lake.
  • Pack Forest - Located in the southern Adirondacks, this camp is open to campers age 11 to 17 and is DEC's newest camp.
  • Camp Weeks and Availability - A listing of open and closed weeks for the environmental education camps.
  • How to Register for Camp - A how-to for parents to send their child to camp, including applications and deadlines.
  • Information for Camp Attendees - Forms, descriptions, and general information for youth attending Camp Colby, DeBruce, Rushford, and Pack Forest.
  • FAQ's about DEC Camp - FAQ's for the DEC Environmental Education Summer Camps.
  • Sportsman Education at Camp - A decription of the Sportsman Education Classes offered at the DEC summer camps
  • Sponsoring Youth to Camp - Steps for an organization sponsoring youth to the environmental education camps.
  • Employment at Education Camps - Seasonal employment opportunities at the four environmental education summer camps operated by the DEC.