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Bates State Forest

Bates State Forest locator map

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The 1,139-acre Bates State Forest was purchased for the people of New York State for reforestation, timber production, recreational use, watershed protection and wildlife habitat. Bates State Forest features hunting, trapping and primitive camping opportunities. Hiking is allowed on all state forests but there are no designated trails on this property.

Featured Activities



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

There are no designated campsites; however, at-large primitive 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.

Hunting & Trapping


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

Bates State Forest is open to hunting and trapping in appropriate seasons. Big game hunting, especially for white-tailed deer, is a popular activity on Bates State Forest. The area also supports populations of turkey, squirrels, rabbits, and grouse. Hunting opportunities vary with habitat conditions. By maintaining a diversity of forest cover types, many different kinds of wildlife species can thrive.


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


Bates State Forest is accessed from Potter Mountain Road, Pucker Street and Bates Forest Road. There are no designated parking areas but road side parking is available in the State Forest. All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Potter Mountain Road: (42.405640°N, 74.275922°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Pucker Street: (42.433792°N, 74.265129°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Bates Forest Road: (42.421595°N, 74.299129°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles 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 Bates 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

  • Hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

How We Manage Bates State Forest

DEC is developing a unit management plan (UMP) 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

The forests on Bates State Forest are managed to provide for recreational opportunities and timber crops while protecting and improving wildlife habitat, water quality and aesthetics. By periodically thinning the forest through the sale of pulpwood and timber, residual trees are given more growing space. This aids in keeping a healthy forest while providing openings for new seedling growth. The constant growth of new trees and vegetation provides food for wildlife and is a source of future, forest crops.

The stands of pine and spruce on Bates State Forest were originally planted on old farm fields. Seedlings of spruce and pine must be planted in open areas with direct sunlight in order to survive. These stands are usually managed by a series of partial thinnings followed at the end of the growing cycle by a clearcut and replanting. In some cases, if there are enough seedlings present at the end of the growing cycle, it is not necessary to replant after a clearcut. Most people do not find clearcuts attractive for the first two or three years. However, the openings created by clearcuts provide important elements of habitat for certain wildlife species that would otherwise not be available. Young plantations, for example, provide cover for wildlife.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Gas may be found in the nearby communities of East Durham, Preston-Potter Hollow and Medusa.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby community of Medusa.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of East Durham and Preston-Potter Hollow.
Lodging may be found in the nearby community of Durham.

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

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.