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Rules for Using State Forests, Forest Preserve, and Unique Areas

Anyone enjoying State Forests, Forest Preserve lands, or Unique Areas must observe the following rules which protect both the people and the forest environment, and are based on regulations 6 NYCRR Parts 190-199 (link leaves DEC website.)

These types of lands are managed by DEC's Division of Lands and Forests. For more information about these rules, contact the Division of Lands and Forests office nearest to your destination.

  • Do not move firewood. A firewood regulation (link leaves DEC website) is in place to protect our forests by preventing the spread of invasive pests and diseases.
  • No permanent structures should be established, including tree stands or blinds.
  • Unauthorized cutting of live trees or new trail building is prohibited.
  • Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying trash is prohibited.
  • If you build a fire, do so with care and use wood from dead and downed trees only. Never leave a fire unattended. All fires must be extinguished with water, and the coals must be raked until cool to the touch.
  • Groups of more than 20 people are required to get a Temporary Revocable Permit (TRP) from the DEC land manager.
  • Camping for more than three consecutive nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a DEC Forest Ranger.
  • Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, or body of water except at camping areas designated by the department.
  • Human waste should be buried in a shallow hole 4-6 inches deep, and at least 150 feet from water, trails, and campsites. Cover with leaf litter and dirt.
  • Motorized vehicles are permitted only on access roads posted as open to motor vehicles. Off road use of motorized vehicles is prohibited, except where specifically permitted by signs, posted notice or by DEC permit.

For rules regarding visits to Wildlife Management Areas, Public Fishing Rights, and certain boat launch and fishing access sites, see Fish and Wildlife regulations (link leaves DEC website.)


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  • Lands & Forests
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233
    518-402-9428
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions