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 315-772-5157). 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/crossbow 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. Retired Civilian Department of Defense I.D. Card.
  6. 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 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 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 at the top and click on "First Time Permit" 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 (Bldg. S-2507).

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 the kiosk outside the the Natural Resources Outreach Facility (Bldg. S-2507). (**The kiosk has been temporarily moved (due to construction) to the grassy field adjacent to Bldg. S-2507 off of Munn's Corner Road leading to the gate at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. Turn at the stoplight off of NYS Rte. 26 at Munn's Corner Road to get to the driveway.**)

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 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, 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.

New York State Hunter Education Requirements

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, check the NYSDEC web site. If you have questions, please call the regional NYSDEC Sportsman Education office at 315-785-2533. 

Most classes are taught between March - September. Do not wait until the hunting season to take a class.

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

Before accessing the Training Area (or hunting in the Cantonment Area), recreationists must check-in with Fort Drum's Range Branch. This is most easily done 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 with 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 1-855-267-9770After check-in, recreational users may access any area that is open for recreation that day.

Check-in to a specific area is now required (as of 08 Sep 2018). Due to the number of incidences of recreationists entering closed areas and for a general safety procedure, 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 now required at the end of the day. Failure to comply with check-in/check-out procedures is grounds for terminating the individual's privilege to access Fort Drum. Check-out must be done by 2 hours after sunset.

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 side window on the driver's side 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 15 mph during hours of darkness. When passing any pedestrian on a road 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 check-in through the Sportsman’s Hotline (1-855-267-9770 or through this web site) prior to entering the Training Area. 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 (315-772-7152).

Special Regulations on Fort Drum

Blaze/Fluorescent 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, 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 paragraph 7(f) and (2) long and recurve bows that are uncased and unstrung while being transported.

Weapons Registration

In accordance with Fort Drum Regulation 190-6, certain weapons possessed in the Cantonment Area for the purpose of hunting, skeet shooting, etc. must be registered with the Directorate of Emergency Services. Registration is now required for the following: any cartridge-firing or muzzle-loading rifle, shotgun, or handgun (pistol or revolver); pellet-firing rifles or handguns with muzzle velocity of 600 FPS or higher; and crossbowsMore information is available here.

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