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Pack Forest

As per the NYS Department of Health's directive that prohibits overnight children's camps from operating this season, DEC has cancelled the 2020 Environmental Education Summer Camp season. DEC will be processing refunds on a rolling basis from families as well as from groups who sponsor campers and we ask for patience as refunds are processed on a weekly basis.

Read the Statement from New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on Overnight Summer Camps.

DEC will continue to work with the NYS Dept. of Health, Centers for Disease Control and others to evaluate the guidelines in place to protect the health and safety of campers and staff for the 2021 season, and to maintain the DEC Camp Program's exploration and learning opportunities going forward.

Please note that DEC Camps staff are working from home as per the Governor's directive and the easiest way to reach them is to send an email to They will return your email as soon as possible.

One of the large camper cabins at Pack Forest
Pack Forest has four large cabins for campers

Campers ages 14-17 Weeks 1-6

Campers ages 11-13 Weeks 7 and 8

Pack Forest, DEC's newest camp, opened in 1998. The camp is located in the southern Adirondacks on 2,500 acres of woodlands. The property includes an 85-acre lake and miles of trails leading to mountain vistas, marshes and the banks of the Hudson River. Pack Forest was named after Charles Lathrop Pack. Pack purchased the land to be used as a teaching and demonstration forest and gave it to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to fulfill this goal. Today, Pack Forest is still used as a teaching forest by SUNY as well as for the DEC Summer Camp.

Adventure, Education, Fun! The DEC Camps Experience

A week at Camp Pack Forest promises fun and adventure in the beautiful Southern Adirondacks. Sometimes campers have opportunities to pick the activities they participate in during "optional" times, or join the rest of camp when everyone participates in camp-wide games or activities.

Throughout the week campers engage in activities that emphasize basic ecological concepts about habitats, species identification, and how organisms and habitats adapt to changes. They also consider environmental solutions through activities and scenarios that encourage campers to make decisions that mitigate their impacts on the environment around them. As a camp focused on the older campers, Pack Forest weekly lessons go more in depth than other camps. Ecology lessons focus on field, forest, and stream. Campers may have opportunities to learn about advanced forestry techniques like using Biltmore sticks and increment borers or participate in citizen science programs. Each year the lessons are a little different, depending on the interests and experience of the camp counselors who design the program.

Campers and their counselor smile atop Chimney mountain
Campers hike Chimney mountain and
Puffer pond on an overnight adventure

Campers at Pack Forest still get opportunities to try new skills, including archery, canoeing, fishing, birding, or taking a hunter education program. Campers also have opportunities to learn outdoor survival skills like fire and shelter building. Hunter Education programs are limited and offer campers a chance to complete their safety certificates on the path to a hunting or trapping license. Visit the Hunter Education Programs at Camps page to learn more. Educators from the I FISH NY program also visit camp to teach about fishing, fish identification, and lead some time fishing in the Pack Forest Lake. Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers may visit each week to talk about their work in conservation as well, and talk about survival skills for outdoor adventures.

Over night camping trips and day trips at Pack Forest usually include visits to sites in the Adirondacks, like Puffer Pond, Chimney Mountain, Indian Lake, or Crane Mountain. For day trips, campers may have the opportunity to visit the Warren County Fish Hatchery, canoeing in other local lakes, or hike nearby trails. Overnight trips allow campers to experience backpacking and camping under the guidance of counselors.

Of course camp also includes skits by counselors and campers, songs, campfires, swimming, and recreation games to round out the week. Many of the activities at camp are from environmental education programs like Project Wild or Project Learning Tree, allowing campers to play games while further reinforcing ecological concepts. College-educated counselor staff guide all activities, encourage participation and respect among group members while interpreting the natural world for campers.

Four campers practice getting in and out of canoes on the lake at Pack Forest
Campers practice safely getting in and out of canoes
during an outdoor skills lesson

Week 6 Outdoor Adventure Week

Do you have a teen who loves being outdoors? Help them deepen their enjoyment and widen their horizons while exploring environmental careers at Camp Pack Forest. Campers this week will develop hands-on outdoor skills that go above and beyond the traditional camp week. Alongside canoeing, fishing, and games campers will engage in forestry, citizen science, conservation science, and more. Visiting DEC, higher education, and natural resource professionals will provide opportunities to consider career paths.

The Outdoor Adventure Week is a variation on the standard week at Camp Pack Forest. This week features special programming including demonstrations of advanced research techniques like electrofishing. Some of the weeks trips and overnights may be unique to this program. The Outdoor Adventure Week does not offer a Hunter Education program, but still offers archery among other camp activities. This is a week of camp meant to help you explore deeper into their love of the outdoors while considering future conservation career fields.

Visit the camp schedule for ages 11-13 page or the schedule for ages 14-17 page to get an idea of what at week at camp is like.

Visit the How to Register for Camp web page to begin your Camp Pack Forest adventure.

Getting to Pack Forest:

Pack Forest
276 Pack Forest Road
Warrensburg, NY 12885

A map of New York State showing the location of Camp Pack Forest

Take the Northway I-87 to Exit 23 (Warrensburg/Diamond Point). Turn left and then right onto US-9. Proceed through the town of Warrensburg. Go straight through the intersection of Rt. 9 and Rt. 28, and approximately a ¼ mile after the intersection turn left at the large white sign reading "Charles Lathrop Pack Demonstration Forest." Follow the driveway slowly (15 mph) to camp, approximately 1.2 miles.

Travel Time from Major Cities

Buffalo: 5 hours
Rochester: 4 hours 15 minutes
Syracuse: 3 hours
Albany: 1 hour 15 minutes
New York City: 3 hours 30 minutes

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