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Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area

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Bear Spring Mountain WMA Locator Map

The primary purposes of Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA consists of over 7,000 acres of upland habitat in Delaware County acquired by the State in 1961. One of Bear Spring Mountain's unique attributes include the location of a state run campground in the middle of the property. Bear Spring Mountain contains various levels of topography from steep mountainsides to gentle valleys and everything in between. Multiple species of hardwoods dominate the forested areas including red oak, red and sugar maple, beech, birch, ash, and black cherry. There are some hemlock covered ridges and the remnants of spruce plantations as well. Many small fields are dispersed throughout the property and are often associated with old apple orchards that are still maintained by the state to provide food for wildlife. There are two streams that run southward and several small ponds that are remnants of early settlements.

The landscape of Bear Spring Mountain WMA.

Featured Activities

Hiking

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General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Please stay on the designated trails to protect the diversity and richness of the plant communities found within this area.

Hunting and Trapping

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Wildlife Management Units: 4W and 4P

General information on hunting and general information on trapping include how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Fishing

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General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

A few fish can be found in the ponds and streams. Launt Pond is stocked with trout. Russ Grey Pond has largemouth bass, sunfish, and bullheads. The two streams contain brook and brown trout.

Wildlife

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General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Bird watching is excellent on Bear Spring Mountain WMA. Bring along your binoculars and camera for added enjoyment. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.

Accessible Features

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

Individuals with disabilities can apply for a permit through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) to use an ATV on the McCoy Hill Trail (Trail #2). This trail begins at the gate on Route 206 and follows the top of the ridge southeasterly on a wide grass trail for approximately 3 miles. The trail is mostly level along its entire length and provides good opportunity to observe game. Permittees are asked to stay on this trail and not follow any of the adjoining trails.

Permittees may also use the Saint John's Field Trail which begins at a gate on West Trout Brook Road approximately 2 miles south of Route 206. The trail is on the west side of the road and follows a well-maintained truck road approximately one mile to the top of the ridge. This trail has varying grades along its length but provides multiple areas of level ground. There are good areas along the entire length for observing game. Permittees should not drive beyond the small field which is about ¼ mile past the Radio Tower Trail. Permittees are not allowed to use trucks or cars on these trails.

Bear Spring Brown Sign

Directions

Bear Spring Mountain WMA is located in the towns of Colchester and Walton along Route 206. Trout Brook Road and West Trout Brook Road run through the heart of the property from Route 206 and join at the southern end of the property. Parking areas providing access can be found along each of these roads.

All Google links leave DEC's website.

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Bear Spring Mountain WMA must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Activity Rules & Regulations

A pond in Bear Spring Mountain WMA.

The following activities are not permitted in Bear Spring Mountain WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming (except at designated areas) or bathing
  • Camping (except at designated campgrounds)
  • Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs, or other property
  • Overnight storage of boats
  • Cutting, removing, or damaging living vegetation
  • Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
  • Littering
  • Storage of personal property

Outdoor Safety Tips

Note: Ticks are active whenever temperatures are above freezing, but especially so in the late spring and early fall. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme and several other diseases. More information on deer ticks and Lyme disease can be obtained from the NYS Department of Health (leaves DEC Website).

How We Manage Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Bear Spring Mountain WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and photography). Funding to maintain and manage this site is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration or "Pittman-Robertson" Act, which is acquired through excise taxes on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

Active management is ongoing at Bear Spring Mountain WMA. Forestry practices promote early successional stage forest growth to encourage specific wildlife species. Apple trees are pruned and cleared of competing overstory. Nest boxes for wood ducks have been placed in appropriate locations, and mowing is used annually to maintain fields.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area (PDF), approved in February 2020, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the WMA.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Web links below can provide information about other recreation, attractions, and amenities in this area.

State Lands and Facilities

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.