Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area
Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) consists of over 7,000 acres of upland habitat in Delaware County acquired by the State in 1961. It is located in the Towns of Colchester and Walton along Route 206. East Trout Brook Rd and West Trout Brook Rd run through the heart of the property from Rt 206 and join at the southern end of the property. Parking areas providing access can be found along each of these roads.
This large parcel of public land affords multiple uses for outdoor recreation including hunting, trapping, angling, hiking, horseback riding and snowmobiling.
Some of Bear Spring Mountain's unique attributes include the location of a state run campground in the middle of the property and basic facilities for horses.
Habitat / Ecological Communities
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.
An assortment of wildlife inhabit the WMA including white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, gray squirrel, fox, raccoon, fisher, bobcat and many songbird species. 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. And the two streams contain brook and brown trout.
The diversity of habitats and wildlife species found at Bear Spring Mountain provide unique opportunities for public use. Many recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, wildlife observation, and nature photography are allowed and encouraged. Many of the trails are accessible to snowmobilers and there is a facility to hold horses for day riders and overnight campers. Parking areas have been developed to provide access to the area, and as previously mentioned, a substantial trail network is maintained for the enjoyment of WMA users.
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.
Rules and Regulations
Public use of Bear Spring Mountain WMA is governed by 6 NYCRR §51 (Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 11-2101).
The following acts are prohibited:
• Use of vessels operated by mechanical power.
• Overnight mooring or storage of boats, canoes and other watercraft.
• Construction of structures, blinds, platforms or stands.
• Swimming or bathing except at designated areas on Launt Pond.
• Cutting, plucking, severing, damaging or removing trees or other vegetation.
• Camping, except at designated areas, littering, kindling fires, damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property.
All visitors to the WMA must comply with all regulatory signs posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation.