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Old 10-10-2017, 10:53 PM   #1
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DEC campgrounds off season

Is it possible to camp in a DEC campground in the off season? I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to camp at Forked Lake but the campground was closed. She said you can still go in and camp if you want. Is this really true? If so, is there still a fee? Thanks for your help.

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Old 10-11-2017, 12:32 AM   #2
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This question has been asked before and answers range from no to yes. Best bet is to call the DEC and ask them directly. It may vary from one campground to another.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:54 AM   #3
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I know for hunting season you can get a permit for an extended stay at some of the campgrounds. I have wanted to stay at campgrounds off season as well, but have always gotten mixed answers from campground hosts. Perhaps I will call the DEC as well, I know Fish Creek and Moffitt Beach are open until the end of October.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:36 PM   #4
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Due to the nature of places like Forked Lake (and Saranac Lake and Indian Lake), I don't see how they could tell you no.

I know many gates to these facilities remain open in the winter for access to hikers, skiers and snowmobiles, so there is nothing really stopping you.

I have to imagine the hesitation to allow this in certain areas has to be lack of bathroom facilities, and hence toilet paper blossoms in the spring as well as perhaps some trepidation that facilities won't be vandalized.

Campgrounds that have primitive sites with outhouses I have to imagine this wouldn't be an issue.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:51 PM   #5
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technically no DEC does not allow winter camping at closed campgrounds,
for them to allow it there is basic level of service they have to provide and ADA compliance rules.
they will not maintain such sites in accordance with the law for limited use
whether they monitor and enforce such is a different story
i would call local dec office and inquire on each site in question go by what dec says not what is said by others
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:09 PM   #6
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I can tell you for sure I have camped at campgrounds in the fall after they have closed along with many others and never had an issue despite rangers patrolling the area. These were places like I mentioned which had their own outhouses. The rule I have always heard and been told is sites like these revert to backcountry sites when the campground closes. Other sites, that do not have bathroom facilities or that are gated off, I would be more wary of and have never used personally. YMMV.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:53 PM   #7
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I inquired about island camping in the Lake George Narrows Island group after it closed in early September and the local ranger confirmed the islands reverted to backcountry rules in the off season, while warning that the docks could be pulled at any time.

I've personally seen hunters and others camped at Rogers Rock campground out of season. The facility is not gated and receives a surprising amount of traffic out of season.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:25 PM   #8
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I've camped at the forked lake lean-to after it was closed, but I think the lean-to is technically off the camp ground, so I'm not sure they would have given me a hassle either way.
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:12 AM   #9
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It depends on the campground. Some campgrounds revert to backcountry regulations in the off season (meaning that free camping is permitted in accordance with the normal state land use regulations). Others do not (meaning the camping in the off season is prohibited). At some campgrounds, only certain sites are available for free use in the off season (like Putnam Pond, were the sites in the main campground are closed, but the interior sites on Putnam Pond itself are available).

Your best bet is to contact the DEC and ask directly. For Forked Lake, I'd try calling the Northville Office first (if they can't help you, they'll be able to tell you what office to call to answer your question).
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:40 PM   #10
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I was at the 8th Lake campground today working on a Lean2Rescue job. Lots of campers are occupying sites, no charge, no attendant on duty. Bathrooms are closed. Pit toilets (outhouses) are available. On the other hand, Golden Beach on Raquette is gated closed. My understanding is that those campgrounds with gates are closed (8th has no gate, Golden does), otherwise help yourself.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:50 PM   #11
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Golden Beach has a number of sites that are accessible right off of Rte 28. I'd assume those would be okay in the off season.
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:58 PM   #12
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I camped at one of the sites in the Lake Durant Campground a few winters back.
A Ranger rode by on a snowmobile, I waved hello but I don't think he even saw me...
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