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Balsam Swamp State Forest

hiking primitive camping paddling icon fhsing icon hunting trapping snowmobiling snowshoeing cross country skiing car top boat launch horseback riding accessible fishing icon key

Balsam Swamp State Forest locator map

Balsam Swamp State Forest totals 2,679 acres. It is a sprawling state forest that stretches almost 5.5 miles east-west across four towns. The area is very rural, and the landscape surrounding Balsam Swamp is mostly forested. There are two short multiple-use trails in the forest. There is also ample opportunity for self-guided day hikes to explore the diversity of habitats present in this State Forest.

The main attraction of this forest is Balsam Pond. The pond is approximately 152 acres and is a popular destination for fishing and paddling. The Balsam Pond boat launch site also features an accessible fishing platform.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

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

Short multi-purpose trails extend from North End Road to Baker's Pond and Balsam Tyler Road to Balsam Pond.

Camping

primitive camping

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

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 10 or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

A small rustic campground is also located at Balsam Pond. Camping spaces are available at no cost on a first-come, first-serve basis and there is no running water or electricity. A fire ring, outhouse, and picnic table are provided for each camping space.

Balsam Swamp State Forest

Paddling and Boating

paddling and boating

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

A shallow gravel boat launch is available for launching small fishing boats. A sign on Balsam-Tyler Road in Pharsalia designates the entrance to the boat launch and camping facility. Gas powered motors with a maximum limit of 25 hp are allowed. This is a carry-in carry-out facility. Please do not litter.

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules and regulations. The Balsam Pond boat launch site features an accessible fishing platform.

Balsam Pond is a warm water fishery that contains a mix of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, brown bullhead and sunfish. Tiger muskellunge have been stocked in the past with the last stocking occurring in 1995. However, there have been very few reports of anglers catching any of the adult tiger muskies.

Fishing access information for the area is available. Fishing easement information for the area is available.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

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

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

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

A snowmobile trail follows Pleasant Farm Burdick Road through the forest.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

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.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations. Horseback riding is allowed in this state forest but there are no trails maintained for this purpose. Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses and out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a 30-day health certificate.

Accessible Features

accessible fishing

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

The Balsam Pond boat launch site features an accessible fishing platform. See below for directions.

Wildlife

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

Directions

Balsam Swamp State Forest can be accessed from numerous town roads off of County Routes 23, 7, and 10. Balsam Pond is located on Balsam-Tyler Road.

Balsam-Tyler Road (42.549064°N, 75.758419°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

North End Road (42.530423°N, 75.824057°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations and 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 Balsam 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.

How We Manage Balsam Swamp State Forest

Balsam Swamp State Forest is part of the Five Streams Unit Management Plan. A unit management plan (UMP) guides the DEC's land management activities on state forests for a 10-year period. Each UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use and forest management. If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email R7Forestry@dec.ny.gov.

Balsam Swamp State Forest is comprised of a mix of native hardwood forests, hemlock swamps, and conifer plantations. Additionally, the western section of Balsam Swamp State Forest is adjacent to Five Streams State Forest to the south.

As with all State Forests, Balsam Swamp is actively managed for timber production. Forest management in this area focuses on maintaining the natural character of the native hardwood stands, retaining and regenerating some of the spruce plantations, and converting the pine plantations to hardwoods.

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Chenango County Tourism Webpage (leaves DEC website)

Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby community of Norwich.

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 online 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.


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