Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Camp Rushford

The status of DEC Summer Camps' 2021 season is under review. DEC's primary motivation has and continues to be the health and safety of campers, families, and staff. In order to afford DEC an appropriate amount of time to determine if camps can open safely, plan for the safest possible camps season, and to avoid numerous modifications, we are delaying a decision for an in-person program. We will update this webpage when a determination has been made.

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.

A cabin at Camp Rushford
Cabins at Rushford are nestled in a pine plantation

Campers ages 11-13 Weeks 1-3 and 6-7

Campers ages 14-17 Weeks 4-5

Rushford is part of the 4,500 acre Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area two miles southwest of Rushford Lake in western New York. The Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area provides a unique and diverse environment for outdoor learning. Campers can explore natural hardwood forests, conifer plantations, fields, streams and marshes and the bog for which the area is named. Camp Rushford is the only DEC Camp specifically designed and built as a conservation education camp. The two main buildings are constructed of logs salvaged from the Adirondacks after the blow down of 1950.

Adventure, Education, Fun! The DEC Camp Experience

Campers at Rushford canoe in a bog
Campers on a canoe trip in a bog

A week at Camp Rushford promises fun and adventure among the pines of the Allegany Plateau. Sometimes campers have opportunities to pick the activities they participate in during "optionals" while other times everyone participates in the same game or activity.

Lesson groups at Rushford cover a range of topics led by camp counselors with backgrounds in science, education, or recreation. Lessons might include examining insects and flowers in a field of milkweed, using nets in the Timbrook Steam to study macroinvertebrates or hunt for salamanders, or venturing through the forest to learn about diversity and forestry. 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.

At camp children have a chance to try new skills, including archery, canoeing, fishing, birding, or taking a Hunter Education program. Hunter Education programs are limited and offered 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 and fish identification.

Campers observe insects on a sheet during a field lesson at Rushford
Campers on a field lesson
studying insects

Day trips at Rushford include visits to the beach on Rushford Lake, the canoe trips in the Hanging Bog Wildlife management area, visits to Letchworth State Park, and or trips to other kettle bogs in the area. Many weeks Camp Rushford includes presentations by the local Environmental Conservation Officer or local wildlife rehabilitators as their schedules allow. Each week campers also go on an overnight trip and learn camping skills. Overnight trips at Rushford frequently use camp sites within the camp property in the woods.

Of course camp also includes skits by counselors and campers, songs, campfires, swimming, and recreation games to round out the week. Many of the games and 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, encouraging participation and respect among group members while interpreting the natural world for campers.

Visit our weekly camp schedule for 11-13 year olds or for 14-17 year olds 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 Rushford adventure.

Directions to Camp Rushford

Camp Rushford
8717 Rush Creek Road
Caneadea, NY 14717

map of nys showing camp location

From the East:

Take I-90 NYS Thruway to Exit 46 (I-390 Rochester/Corning). Take I-390 South until Exit 8 (US 20A Geneseo). Turn right onto US 20A and go straight onto NY 39. Turn left onto NY 19A, which eventually becomes NY 19. NY 19 will lead you into Caneadea, NY. Take a right onto Rt. 49 and continue straight until you see a public beach on the right. Turn left onto Rush Creek Road. You will pass a large barn and then see the entrance to Camp Rushford on the left. Look for the yellow and brown NYSDEC signs.

From Jamestown (West):

Travel east on Interstate 86 to Cuba Exit 28. Take a left onto State Route 305. Proceed north on Route 305 to Belfast. Turn left onto State Route 19 and proceed north. Turn left onto County Route 49 (just south of Caneadea) and continue until you see a public beach and the Rushford Lake inlet. Turn left onto Rush Creek Road and proceed approximately 2 miles. Turn left into the entrance to Camp Rushford. Look for the yellow and brown NYSDEC signs.

From Buffalo:

Travel West on NYS Thruway I-90 to exit 54-RT 400. Merge onto RT 400 South towards East Aurora Divided highway ends and becomes RT 16 South In the town of Yorkshire turn LEFT onto RT 39 East In the village of Arcade turn RIGHT onto RT 98 South Continue straight on 98 and it will become RT 243 East After passing a few commercial buildings on your left, look for Hillcrest Rd/County RT 49 (blue and gold sign). Turn RIGHT onto Hillcrest Rd/Co. RT 49. Look for Rushford Lake public beach on your left and Rush Creek Rd. on your right. Turn RIGHT onto Rush Creek Rd. Travel about 2 miles and look for a large barn and Camp Rushford entrance on your LEFT.

Travel time from major cities

Buffalo: 1 hour 15 minutes
Rochester: 2 hours
Syracuse: 3 hours
Albany: 5 hours
New York City: 6 hours

  • Important Links
  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC Camps
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-5256
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Region 9