The natural beauty of the region along with world renowned fishing, boating, and winter recreation opportunities has made tourism a substantial part of the regional economy. This includes the Thousand Islands region along the St. Lawrence River approximately 20 miles to the north of Fort Drum, Lake Ontario approximately 16 miles to the west, and Adirondack Park to the east. The Black River running past Fort Drum and through Watertown is nationally known for kayaking. Fort Drum attracts hunters throughout the eastern U.S. See the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) web site for a guide to outdoor activities in New York State.
Fort Drum is home of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). It is also the largest installation in the northeastern U.S. and serves as a training facility for Reserve and National Guard units in the region. The initial acquisition of land for Fort Drum occurred in 1909 and the most significant acreage—75,000 acres—was acquired in 1940. Fort Drum is an active military installation and recreational use is secondary to the military mission.
To ensure sound natural resources management, an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) was developed and first implemented in 2001. The INRMP was prepared in partnership and signatory cooperation with NYSDEC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), representing the state and federal Sikes Act agencies, respectively. The INRMP and its implementation helps ensure: (1) the sustainability of quality training lands to accomplish the military mission; (2) compliance with environmental laws and regulations; (3) good stewardship of public lands; and (4) enhancement of quality of life on and around Fort Drum. Fort Drum has a staff of natural resources professionals committed to supporting these goals. See the Fort Drum web site to learn more about natural resources management on the installation including fish and wildlife, forestry, and wetlands.