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Bear Swamp State Forest

hikingprimitive campingfishingpaddlinghand launchsnowmobilingsnowshoeing cross-country skiinghuntingtrapping bird viewing areaaccessible featuresparking icon key

Bear Swamp State Forest locator map

The 1,750-acre Bear Swamp State Forest features a forest dominated ecosystem with both natural and planted forest species throughout the area. Bear Swamp State Forest's main feature is the 44-acre Bear Swamp Pond. The area also offers a network of snowmobile trails and a 0.2-mile foot trail that leads to the northwest shore of Bear Swamp Pond.

Featured Activities



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

Bear Swamp State Forest offers a short foot trail (0.2 miles), which leads from Roseboom Public Forest Access Road east to the northwest shore of Bear Swamp Pond. There is a small roadside parking area available for this trail.


primitive camping

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

There are no designated primitive camping sites, however at large backcountry camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.



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

Bear Swamp Pond features fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, pumpkinseed and brown bullhead.


hand launch

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

Bear Swamp Pond is open to non-motorized crafts and features a hand launch on the northeast shore.



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

Bear Swamp State Forest features 2.6 miles of a designated snowmobile trails. This trails are maintained by a local snowmobile club, the Sharon Pathfinders (leaves DEC website).

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 4F

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

Bear Swamp State Forest is open for hunting and trapping in appropriate seasons. The unit features a number of young spruce plantations, which provide good habitat for rabbits. Other wildlife to expect in this area includes whitetail deer, squirrel, grouse and turkey along with mink, raccoon, fox, coyote and bobcat.

Bird Viewing Area

bird viewing area

This property is a Bird Conservation Area. Bear Swamp Creek and the surrounding forests support several pairs of red-shouldered hawks, a species of special concern. The site is located at the head of a valley, making the site more prone to visits by migratory songbirds.

On May 25, 2005, a local birding group observed a spring fallout and recorded the following counts of species: 20+ veerys, 12 hermit thrushes, 50+ red-eyed vireos, 21 scarlet tanagers, 58 rose-breasted grosbeaks, 9 blackpoll warblers, 6 hooded warblers, and 8 black-throated blue warblers. White-winged crossbill, pine siskin, purple finch and house finch can be found wintering in the conifers on the state forest.

Accessible Features

accessible features

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

Bear Swamp State Forest features a 0.9 mile road, located off of Buttermilk Hill Road in the northwest corner of the unit, which is a designated motorized access route for people with qualifying disabilities relating to hunting and wildlife viewing. A permit from the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) can be obtained from the nearest DEC office.


  • Bear Swamp Parking Area is located on Roseboom Public Forest Access Road between Buttermilk Hill Road and Joe Chamberlain Road. The parking area provides access to the hand launch for Bear Swamp Pond. (42.6914°N, 74.674867°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC 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 Swamp State Forest 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.

Specific Rules

  • Biking and horseback riding, are permitted activities on Bear Swamp State Forest, but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.
  • Much of the south shore and outlet area of Bear Swamp Pond are private and off limits to the public. Please boat and fish with courtesy near this shore.
  • Snowmobiles are not permitted to travel through new plantations.

Planning and Management

DEC is developing a management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Food, gas and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Cherry Valley, Cobleskill, Richmondville, Roseboom, Sharon Springs, and Worcester.
  • Dining opportunities may be found in the nearby communities of Cherry Valley, Cobleskill, Pleasant Brook, Richmondville, Sharon Springs and Worcester.
  • Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Cobleskill, Pleasant Brook and Sharon Springs.

Otsego County Tourism Office (leaves DEC website), and Schoharie County Tourism Website (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, amenities, and attractions in this area.

Numerous guidebooks 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.