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 Millitary Police (315-772-5156). Recreationists participating in nighttime fishing, predator hunting, or overnight camping activities are the only recreationists authorized to be in the Fort Drum training areas from 2 hours after sunset to 2 hours before sunrise.

Access to the 8,000+ 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 hunting is restricted to certain areas and only to 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. Retired Civilian Department of Defense I.D. CAC Card.
  6. Contract personnel with a 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.

Unexploded Ordnance on Fort Drum

All recreationists must understand the life threatening hazards associated with touching unexploded ammunition that may be uncovered in the Training Area.  No person shall touch suspected unexploded ammunition and will immediately report its location to Range Branch, Bldg. P-4855 (315-772-7152).  If Range Branch cannot be reached, contact the Military Police, Bldg. P-10715 (315-772-5156 or 315-772-5157).  Recreationists who would like more information can view the Explosives Safety Education Program - Recognize, Retreat, & Report Unexploded Ordnance. Or contact the Scheduling Section of Range Branch, Bldg. P-4855 (315-772-5673 or 315-772-5275) to schedule a short briefing on the identification and hazards of unexploded ammunition.

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:

  • Hunting (including Scouting)
  • Fishing
  • Boating (including Canoeing and Kayaking)
  • Trapping
  • Wildlife Viewing and/or Photography
  • Camping
  • Harvesting Fruit, Mushrooms, Ramps/Leeks, Asparaus, Fiddleheads, Dandelions, and/or Rhubarb (for personal use only)
  • Picknicking
  • Geocaching
  • Target Shooting (archery any time or with firearms only on ranges designated by Range Branch)
  • Dog Walking/Training
  • 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)
  • Driving

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 (but a NYS fishing license is required).

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 driver's side on the dashboard, windshield, or side window of the vehicle. 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 available 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 blue navigation bar at the top of this page and click on "First Time Permit" and follow the instructions. At the end of the process, you can print out your permit. Regulations are available to read and download at the top of this page (and other pages). Recreation maps are available to be picked up at the kiosk outside of the Natural Resources Outreach Facility (Bldg. S-2507)--directions are below.

Obtaining a Fort Drum Recreation Map

The most up-to-date map has a an orange box in the lower right corner and states "Updated 2023."  A full size (24" x 30") printed version of the Recreation Map is available free-of-charge 24/7 from the kiosk outside of the Natural Resources Outreach Facility (Bldg. S-2507). The updated 2023 Recreation Map (9MB) can also be downloaded.

Directions to get to the Natural Resources Oureach Facility are as follows:

From Interstate 81, take Exit 48A to Interstate 781. Go 4.0 miles to Exit 4 (the only exit) before the Fort Drum Cerjan Gate. At the stoplight at the bottom of the ramp, turn left onto US Hwy 11 north and go approximately 3.0 miles to NYS Route 26 (at Evans Mills). Turn right at the stoplight onto NYS Route 26 and go approximately 5.0 miles (past the stoplights going to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield to the left) and turn left into the driveway--"Natural Resources Outreach Facility" is on a green sign. The log cabin kiosk can be seen from Route 26 at the edge of the parking lot to the left of the front door.

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

The Natural Resources Outreach Facility is now on Google Maps. The Natural Resources Outreach Facility is adjacent to hte site of the new Fort Drum Museum which is currently under construction.

New York State Licenses

New York State hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses are required on Fort Drum. New York State 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. 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, US Reserve Forces, or certain members of the US Armed Forces are eligible for FREE sporting licenses. See the NYSDEC web site for more information on New York State's Patriot Plan

New York State Hunter Education Requirements

Hunter education courses are offered by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). A hunter education course is required for persons who cannot provide proof that they have ever possessed a hunting license. The general course is a minimum of 10 hours in length and offered free of charge. NYSDEC honors hunter education certificates and sporting licenses from all other states and countries. Note that NYSDEC also requires a hunter education course specific to bowhunting. (NYSDEC does not accept a combined hunter education course for bowhunting certification.) See the NYSDEC Hunter, Bowhunter, and/or Trapper Education web site for more information.

Below are links to the different classes offered that can be sorted by distance from a zip code location. 

Be advised, most classes are offered between March - September. Do not wait until the hunting season to take a class.  

  • An online option for Hunter Education classes is also now available. Anyone 11 years of age and older can obtain a hunter education certificate either by completing the online course and virtual field day, passing the final exam, and paying a fee; or by attending an in-person, instructor-led course 

Sportsman's Hotline to Check-in & Check-out

Before entering the Training Area (or hunting in the Cantonment Area), recreationists must check-in with Fort Drum's Range Control. This is done most easily through the web site via a computer or smart phone. The Sportsman's Hotline is updated at approximately 3:00 pm. An interactive map and list will show the areas open for recreation the following day. If you don't have a computer or smart phone, you can check-in by calling the Sportsman's Hotline at 1-855-267-9770 and follow the prompts. 

All recreationists are required to check-in to an open subtraining area. You have the option to check-in to three areas at a time. If you are recreating only along a road (e.g., birdwatching from the road, going for a drive, etc.) and not entering a subtraining area, there is the option of "Road Recreation."  

Check-out is required at the end of the day. Check-out must be done no later than 2 hours after sunset.

A Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass for each person in the vehicle must be displayed with the access pass number facing up in clear sight in the windshield, dashboard, or side window on the driver's side of the vehicle at all times. 

A government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver's license) must be carried on your person any time you are engaged in a recreational activity 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 any time at the discretion of the Commander when deemed necessary. Recreational use of the installation is secondary to requirements of the military mission.

Driving & Parking in the Training Area

Vehicles are allowed only on designated recreational roads--refer to the Fort Drum Recreational Use Map. Vehicles can not be operated on non-designated roadways (improved light duty roads, unimproved dirt roads, or trails).

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 is 30 mph during daylight hours and 15 mph during hours of darkness. When passing any pedestrian on a road, the speed limit is 10 mph.

Nighttime or Overnight Activities

Recreationists engaged in nighttime fishing, predator hunting, and/or camping, must check-in through the Sportsman's Hotline (the web site or 1-855-267-9770) prior to entering the Training Area. These are the only recreational users authorized to be in the Fort Drum Training Area 2 hours before sunrise and 2 hours after sunset.  

For campers only: Upon reaching your destination in the Training Area, campers must contact Range Control (315-772-7152) and confirm their location. 

Blaze/Fluorescent Orange (or Pink) 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 except in Cantonment Hunting Areas 74, 75, 79 and 80 during the regular deer hunting season).

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, road, at a designated angling site 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.

7. Beginning in 2018, NYS law requires big game hunters age 14 and 15, and their mentors, to wear fluorescent orange or pink visible from all directions. The exposed shirt, jacket, or vest must have at least 250 square inches of solid or pattenred fluorescent orage or pink (the pattern must be at least 50% orange or pink) OR a hat with at least 50% fluorescent orange or pink. On Fort Drum, the explosed shirt, jacket or vest AND hat must be worn and can either blaze orange of pink. 

Gun Cases

Most weapons including crossbows and compound bows transported in a vehicle must be unloaded and cased. An unloaded weapon 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 or primer is removed from the firearm or the primer pan is empty. 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 contain and 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. Exceptions include: (1) pistols and revolvers in accordance with FD Reg 420-3 paragraph 7(f); (2) weapons on ATVs for disabled hunting in accordance with FD Reg 420-3 paragraph 11(d); and (3) long and recurve bows that are uncased and unstrung while being transported.

Weapons Registration

See the Weapons Registration page for the most current information about registering weapons on Fort Drum. 

New in 2018, weapons did not need to be registered if possessed only in the Training Area.