Hudson River Special Management Area
The Hudson River Special Management Area (HRSMA), also known as the Hudson River Recreation Area, or sometimes simply Buttermilk, is located on the eastern shore of the Hudson River in the Lake George Wild Forest. It includes 5,550 acres of forest preserve lands in the towns of Warrensburg and Lake Luzerne in Warren County.
The HRSMA is generally bounded by the Hudson River on the west, State Route 9N to the south, Old Stage/Viele Pond Road to the east, and The Glen to the north.
A central feature and major attraction of the area are the dozen or so miles of frontage on the east bank of the Hudson River. This area is popular for camping, swimming, picnicking, boating, tubing, and other recreational activities.
East of the river corridor, much of the HRSMA is hilly and quite steep. Many rocky outcrops, and hence potentially scenic vistas, exist on the hillsides in the area, though there are few foot trails by which to access them. Elevations in the area range from around 580 ft. at the Hudson River to 1,941 ft. at the top of Thomas Mountain.
Numerous old roads and skid trails can be found throughout the area - some designated, though most are not - that are used by the public for hiking, snowmobiling, horseback riding, Nordic skiing, hunting and other activities.
From Exit 21 (Lake George) of the Northway (I 87) take Route 9N west towards Lake Luzerne for approximately 9.7 miles. Turn right onto Mill Street, this is the first right after passing the Lake Luzerne Elementary School. Take Mill Street to its end at the intersection with River Road, turn right onto River Road. The various recreational areas and facilities of the HRSMA can be accessed from the River Road.
DEC provides many accessible facilities for people with mobility disabilities in the HRSMA, including eight campsites and 1.5 miles of roadways open to people permitted through the DEC's Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD).
Campsites #1-5, #10, #17 and #18 are managed to provide access for visitors with mobility disabilities. An accessible campsite includes firm stable surfaced camping pads suitable for mobility devices of various sizes depending on location. Many also include accessible privies, accessible picnic tables and accessible fireplaces. Motor vehicles with a MAPPWD permit may drive pass designated parking areas and park closer to these campsites or, at Campsite #5 they may actually enter the campsite.
Although currently closed to public motor vehicle access, Pikes Beach Access Road and Scofield Flats Access Road may still be accessed by motor vehicle by people with disabilities holding MAPPWD permits. The Bear Slides Access Road and Darlings Ford are closed to motor vehicle use by the general public, but will also remain open to people with disabilities holding MAPPWD permits.
There are six parking areas with space for 40 vehicles. Also all of the campsites have a parking area for one or two vehicles associated with them. The six parking lots are:
- Scofield Flats - 4 parking sites
- Pike's Beach - 4 parking sites
- Town Line Parking Area - 10 parking sites
- Bear Slides/Darlings Ford - 6 parking sites
- The "Pines" Day Use Area - 10 parking sites
- Buttermilk Rd & Gay Pond Rd Intersection - 6 parking sites
Overnight camping is allowed at designated campsites only. 19 campsites are designated at various locations in the area:
- Scofield Flats - 2 campsites each with an accessible table, fireplace and privy
- Pike's Beach - 2 campsites each with an accessible table, fireplace and privy
- River Road - 1 campsite with an accessible table, fireplace and privy
- Buttermilk Road - 4 campsites
- Gay Pond Road - 6 campsites, sites #10, #12, #13, and #15 each have an accessible table, fireplace and privy
- Bear Slides - 2 campsites each with an accessible table, fireplace and privy
- Huckleberry Mountain - 1 campsite, site #14, with an accessible table, fireplace and privy
- Chamberlin Farm - 1 campsite
Day Use Areas
Three day use areas provide for picnicking and other activities:
- "The Pines" Day Use Area - 8 accessible picnic tables and a privy
- Darlings Ford - 1 accessible picnic table and a privy
- Buttermilk Road and Gay Pond Intersection - water access and accessible privy
Waterway Access Sites
Four waterway access sites allow for launching canoes, kayaks and cartop boats, and wading, tubing, swimming, fishing and other water recreational activities:
- Scofield Flats
- Pike's Beach
- Darling Ford
- Buttermilk Road and Gay Pond Intersection
Rules, Regulation and Tips
While, visitors should understand and practice all state rules and regulation for reasons of safety, to ensure an enjoyable experience, and to protect the natural resources of the Hudson River Special Management Area. The complete regulations and rules for the use of state lands may be viewed using the link in the right column. The list below are some of the more important ones:
- Camping and fires are permitted at designated sites only
- Cutting of standing trees, dead or alive, is prohibited
- Motor vehicles are only permitted on open roads and at designated parking areas
- "Pack it in, pack it out" - take all garbage and possessions with you when you leave
- A permit is required from a DEC Forest Ranger if you are camping more than 3 nights or have 10 or more people in your group