Balsam Swamp State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 7 Sherburne Office: (607) 674-4017 M-F 8 am- 4 pm, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Pharsalia, Pitcher, McDonough and German, Chenango County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 7M
- Map: View Balsam Swamp State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (258 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Balsam Swamp State Forest totals 2,679 acres. It is a sprawling state forest that stretches almost 5.5 miles east-west across four towns. The area is very rural, and the landscape surrounding the State Forest is predominantly forested. The main attraction of this forest is Balsam Pond. The impoundment is approximately 152 acres and is a popular destination for fishing and paddle boat sports. There are two short multiple use trails trails on the forest. There is also ample opportunity for self-guided day hikes to explore the diversity of habitats represented on this State Forest.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
Short multi-purpose trails extend from North End Road to Baker's Pond and Balsam Tyler Road to Balsam Pond.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
At large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
A small rustic camp ground is also located at Balsam Pond. Camping spaces are available at no cost on a first-come, first-serve basis and there is no running water or electricity. A fire ring, outhouse, and picnic table are provided for each camping space.
Paddling and Boating
General information on paddling and boating includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
A shallow gravel boat launch is available for launching small fishing boats. A sign on Balsam-Tyler Road in Pharsalia designates the entrance to the boat launch and camping facility. Gas powered motors with a maximum limit of 25 hp are allowed. This is a carry-in carry-out facility. Please do not litter.
General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations.
Balsam Pond is a warm water fishery that contains a mix of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, brown bullhead and sunfish. Tiger muskellunge have been stocked in the past with the last stocking occurring in 1995. However, there have been very few reports of anglers catching any of the adult tiger muskies.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
A snowmobile trail follows Pleasant Farm Burdick Road through the forest.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.
General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. Horseback riding is allowed on this state forest but there are no trails maintained for this purpose. Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses and out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a 30-day health certificate.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
Access to Balsam Swamp State Forest is gained from numerous town roads off of County Routes 23, 7, and 10. Balsam Pond is located on Balsam-Tyler Road.
Balsam Tyler Road (42.549064°N, 75.758419°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
North End Road (42.530423°N, 75.824057°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.
How We Manage Balsam Swamp State Forest
Balsam Swamp State Forest is part of the Five Streams Unit Management Plan. A Unit Management Plan (UMP) guides the DEC's land management activities on several geographically related forests for a ten-year period, although a number of goals and objectives in the plan focus on a much longer time period. Each UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use and forest management.
Balsam Swamp State Forest is comprised of a mix of native hardwood forests, hemlock swamps, and conifer plantations. Additionally, the western section of Balsam Swamp State Forest is adjacent to Five Streams State Forest to the south.
As with all State Forests, Balsam Swamp is actively managed for timber production. Forest management in this area is generally aimed at maintaining the natural character of the native hardwood stands, retaining and regenerating some of the spruce plantations, and converting the pine plantations to hardwoods.
If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us email@example.com.
Nearby Amenities and Attractions
Chenango County Tourism Webpage (leaves DEC website)
Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby community of Norwich.
Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.
Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.
Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.