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Access to Fort Drum

Access to the Training Area (the area north of NYS Route 26) is generally open to everyone for recreation. A Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass is required and check-in procedures must be followed before entering the training area. Entry into Fort Drum training areas may begin 2 hours before sunrise. Exit of all training areas must be no later than 2 hours after sunset.

Persons requesting to remain in or enter Fort Drum training areas during hours of darkness, or to enter either permanent or temporarily off limits areas for wounded game, lost hunters, etc., must be accompanied by personnel from Range Branch (315-772-7152) or the Military Police (315-772-5156 or 772-5157). Recreationists participating in nighttime fishing, predator hunting, or overnight camping activities are the only recreational users authorized to be in the Fort Drum training areas from 2 hours after sunset to 2 hours before sunrise.

Access to the 8,500 acre Cantonment Area (the area generally between NYS Routes 26, 11, 3, and 342 behind the fence where the buildings are located) is allowed with proper identification, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Fishing and other recreational activities are allowed; recreational trapping is prohibited to everyone; and archery hunting is restricted to only those persons possessing one of the following:

  1. Military I.D
  2. Military Dependent or Family Member I.D.
  3. Retired Military I.D.
  4. Civilian Department of Defense I.D. CAC Card.
  5. Contract personnel with a Department of Defense I.D. CAC Card--with a green stripe and magnetic strip. This is not the same as a Rapid Gate Pass or other contractor-controlled I.D. card.  

Recreational Activities Allowed on Fort Drum 

The following activities are allowed on Fort Drum in the Training Area with a Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass:

  • Fishing
  • Hunting (including Scouting)
  • Target Shooting (archery any time or with firearms only on ranges designated by Range Branch)
  • Trapping
  • Camping
  • Wildlife Viewing and/or Photography
  • Harvesting Fruit, Mushrooms, Ramps/Leeks, Asparagus, Fiddleheads, Dandelions, and/or Rhubarb (for private use only)
  • Picnicking
  • Geocaching
  • Dog Training or Walking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Snowmobiling (only in Training Areas 7E, 7F, and 7G)
  • ATV Riding (only on recreational roads around Training Areas 7E, 7F, and 7G)
  • Boating (including kayaking and canoeing)

Fort Drum Recreational Access Passes

All persons, including children of any age, entering the TRAINING AREA for any recreational activity must have a Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass—there are no exceptions.

For the CANTONMENT AREA, a Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass is required for hunting only. (Trapping is not allowed and no access pass is required for other activities including fishing).

The Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass for every person in the vehicle must at all times be clearly displayed with the access pass numbers facing up, on the vehicle dashboard, windshield, or driver side window. An Access Pass must be displayed in your vehicle (including when hunting in the Cantonment Area) for every person recreating that day.

Recreationists 18 years of age and older must have a government-issued photo I.D. (e.g., military I.D., driver’s license) on their person while engaged in any recreational activity on the installation. A New York State hunting, fishing, and/or trapping license is required per New York State regulations for persons engaged in those activities on Fort Drum. All documentation must be produced upon demand to any Law Enforcement Officer, or individual who provides identification as an official of Fort Drum.

Fort Drum Recreational Access Passes are valid beginning January 1 and expire December 31. Access passes are free of charge.

Obtaining a Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass

Fort Drum Recreational Access Passes can be obtained only at this web site. Go to the navigation bar on the upper left and click on "Get Recreation Permits" and follow the instructions. At the end of the process, you can print out your permit. Regulations must be downloaded from this web site, but the recreation map is only available to be picked up in the kiosk outside of the Natural Resources Outreach Facility.

Obtaining a Fort Drum Recreational Map

The most up-to-date map has a blue box in the lower right corner and states "Updated 2016." The Updated 2016 Recreation Map (7-MB) can be downloaded.

A full size (24" x 30") printed version of the recreation map, is available free-of-charge 24/7 from a kiosk off of Munn's Corner Rd as you approach the gate leading to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. The kiosk is in a parking area by itself between the former Natural Resources Outreach Facility (Bldg. S-2507) and Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. (**This is a new location as of January 2018**)

Directions to get to the Natural Resources Outreach Facility are as follows:
From Interstate 81, take Exit 48A to Interstate I-781. Go 4.0 miles to Exit 4 (the only exit) before the Fort Drum Main Gate. At the stoplights at the bottom of the ramp, turn left onto US 11 North and go approximately 3.0 miles to NY Rte. 26 (at Evans Mills). Turn right on NY Rte. 26 and go approximately 5.0 miles (past the stoplights going to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield) and turn left into the driveway ("Natural Resources Permits" is on a green sign). Go to the back parking lot. A log cabin kiosk is next to the front door.

The Natural Resources Outreach Facility is 0.3 miles from Great Bend at the junction of NY Rte. 3 and NY Rte. 26.

New York State Licenses

New York State hunting, fishing and trapping licenses can be obtained several ways via the Department of Environmental Conservation Licensing System (DECALS). New York State sporting licenses can be purchased in person on Fort Drum at the Post Exchange (PX) operated by AAFES. Licenses are NOT available at the Natural Resources Permit Office. See the NYSDEC web site for information about hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses.

Active duty military personnel and family members stationed at Fort Drum are eligible to purchase sporting licenses as New York State residents instead of non-residents. NYS residents who are active service members of either the New York State Organized Militia, U.S. Reserve Forces, or certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for FREE sporting licenses. See the NYSDEC web site for more information on New York State's Patriot Plan.

First-time hunters are reminded that they must complete a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Hunter, Bowhunter, and/or Trapper Education course before applying for a respective New York State license. For a listing of classes and locations, see the Requirements section on the home page of this web site or check the NYSDEC web site directly. If you have questions, please call the regional NYSDEC Sportsman Education office at 315-785-2533.

Sportsman's Hotline to Check-in

Before accessing the Training Area (or hunting in the Cantonment Area), recreationists must check-in with Fort Drum's Range Branch by calling the Sportsman's Hotline at 315-772-7153. Press Option #1 for Training Area Access or Option #2 for hunting in the Cantonment Area or Option #3 for nighttime fishing, predator hunting or camping. A recorded message will state which training areas are open for the date listed. Afterwards, using a touch tone phone you will be asked to type in your four digit access pass number followed by the "#" sign to continue or the "*" sign to end.

The Sportsman's Hotline is updated at approximately 9:00 pm (this is a new time for the 2017-2018 season) for the following day. The number of training areas recreational users can check into each day is not limited. Check-in is required each day. Failure to comply with check-in procedures is grounds for terminating the individual's privilege to access Fort Drum. There is no requirement to check-out when you leave the Training Area for the day.

Fort Drum Recreational Access Passes for each individual in the vehicle must be displayed with the access pass number facing up in clear sight in the windshield, dashboard, or driver's side window of the vehicle at all times. Remember that a government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver's license, etc.) must be carried on your person any time you are engaged in outdoor recreational activities in the Training Area (or hunting in the Cantonment Area); a New York State license is also required for hunting, fishing, and trapping on Fort Drum.

Fort Drum, and any part thereof, may be closed at the discretion of the Installation Commander when deemed necessary. Recreational use of the installation is secondary to requirements of the military mission.

Driving & Parking in the Training Area

Vehicles shall not be operated on roadways (improved light duty roads, unimproved dirt roads, or trails) within the boundaries of block/subsidiary training areas unless identified as a recreational road. (Please refer to the Fort Drum Recreational Use Map for all designated recreational roads).

Vehicle parking is restricted to designated recreational roads, in parking areas at Range facilities designated with a "P" on the Fort Drum Recreational Use Map, or within training areas not more than 50 feet and clearly seen from a designated recreational road. All vehicles must be parked adjacent to training areas open for recreational use on that given day. All vehicles must be parked in such a manner as to allow other vehicles safe passage, including not blocking access to other roads or trails not designated as recreational roads.

The speed limit on Fort Drum roads/tank trails is 30 mph during daylight hours and 10 mph during hours of darkness. When passing soldiers on the road/tank trails the speed limit is 10 mph.

Night or Overnight Activities

Recreationists engaged in nighttime fishing, predator hunting, and/or camping activities in the Fort Drum Training Area must call the Sportsman’s Hotline and press Option #3 to check-in. Recreationists engaged in nighttime fishing, predator hunting, and/or camping activities in the Fort Drum Training Area must call the Sportsman’s Hotline and press Option #3 to check-in. Upon reaching their destination in the Training Area, recreationists must contact Range Branch (315-772-7152) and confirm their location. These are the only recreational users authorized to be in the Fort Drum Training Area two hours after sunset or two hours before sunrise. No recreationist from 1 September – 30 March and 1 May – 31 May may drive in the Training Area two hours before sunrise without contacting Range Branch (772-7152).

Recreationists are advised that the Sportsman Hotline is updated at approximately 6:00 pm with the next day’s training area information—if checking in after 6:00 pm for recreation that same night, call Range Control to ensure the areas are open for recreation that same night.

Special Regulations on Fort Drum

Blaze Orange Clothing

All recreationists in Fort Drum training areas during any hunting season (September 1 - March 30 and May 1 - May 31) are required to visibly display a minimum of 144 square inches of blaze orange on the front and back of their upper bodies, and are also required to wear blaze orange headgear.

Exceptions to this blaze orange requirement are:

1. Any activity between 01 June and 31 August.

2. Archery hunters in Archery Hunting Only Areas (including the Cantonment Area).

3. Archery hunters while in a stand at least 10 feet above the ground. Archery hunters walking to a stand must wear blaze orange headgear.

4. Waterfowl hunters must wear blaze orange while walking to and from their hunting areas, but do not have to wear blaze orange while sitting in a blind or in a boat.

5. Turkey and predator hunters must wear blaze orange headgear while walking to and from their hunting areas, but do not have to wear blaze orange while sitting in the woods if 144 square inches of blaze orange is placed in a tree within sight of their hunting location. Predator hunters with a Nighttime Recreation Pass at night (after one-half hour after sunset and before one-half hour before sunrise) do not have to wear blaze orange.

6. Anglers actively engaged in fishing from a boat or on ice do not have to wear blaze orange. Anglers walking to and from their fishing areas or fishing along streams must wear blaze orange headgear.

Gun Cases

All weapons including crossbows (except pistols and revolvers in accordance with Fort Drum Regulation 420-3 Paragraph 7(f)) transported in the passenger compartment of a vehicle must be unloaded and cased, or unloaded and in the closed trunk of a motor vehicle. An unloaded firearm is a firearm without ammunition in the chamber and/or magazine, if the magazine is in the firearm. A muzzleloader is considered unloaded if the percussion cap is removed from the firearm. A crossbow is considered unloaded if it is uncocked and the bolt is removed. A cased weapon is a weapon inside a case expressly made to fully enclose that weapon in such a manner that no portion of the weapon is exposed when the case is zipped, snapped, buckled, tied, or otherwise fastened. If parked on a public highway but hunting on Fort Drum, this regulation still applies.

Firearms Registration

In accordance with Fort Drum Regulation 190-6, all firearms possessed anywhere on the installation are required to be registered with the Directorate of Emergency Services. This applies to anyone possessing a firearm anywhere on Fort Drum including recreationists that are hunting or target shooting in the Training Area or Cantonment Area. Registration is NOT required for bows, crossbows, slingshots, paint-ball guns, Simunition type guns, air rifles, air pistols, etc. 

To register a firearm, fill out Fort Drum Form 601-E Registration of Personal Firearm or Weapon. (If you are having trouble downloading the fillable version of Form 601-E, try this version that will have to be filled out by hand.) If you have a CAC or other millitary I.D., bring the form in person to the Directorate of Emergency Services (Bldg. P-10715). The MP Duty Desk is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you do NOT have a CAC or other millitary I.D., e-mail (usarmy.drum.imcom-atlantic.mbx.des-mp-desk@mail.mil) the form to the MP Duty Desk at least 72 hours before you plan to hunt, target shoot, etc. The Weapon Registration can be picked up at the Access Control Point at the Gas Alley Gate off of Rte. 26.

One form can be used for up to four firearms. You can register as many firearms as you like--you will need to just fill out additional Form 601-Es. Anyone registering a firearm will receive a Weapons Registration Card that must be carried on your person while on the installation with the specified firearm.

Please see the Weapons Policy Fact Sheet (updated 14 Aug 2017) for more information. 

Please be aware of the new New York State laws regulating firearms that went into effect in 2013. See the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act (NYSAFE) web site for more information.