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Sterling Forest State Park
Description: This huge park is a pristine natural oasis a short drive north of one of the nation’s most densely populated regions. Sterling Forest is not only a remarkable woodland, but an important watershed and a tremendous outdoor recreation area. Its unbroken deep-forest habitat is important for the survival of many resident and migratory species, including black bears, several kinds of hawks and songbirds, rare invertebrates and rare plants.

Wildlife to Watch: Due to its size and habitat diversity, New York State has designated Sterling Forest as a Bird Conservation Area, and New York Audubon considers it an Important Bird Area. Among the dozens of at-risk bird species that reside or migrate through are bald eagles, golden-winged warblers, red-shouldered hawks, whip-poor-wills and cerulean warblers. Waterfowl are most visible during spring and fall migration, when ring-necked ducks and common and hooded mergansers visit. Mallards, Canada geese and the strikingly patterned wood duck breed in the park. Other birds found here include ospreys, olivesided flycatchers and prairie warblers.

Though black bears reside within the boundaries of the park, you’re more likely to see white-tailed deer, eastern gray squirrels and chipmunks. Beavers are also abundant. Look for their conspicuous stick lodges and dams in wetlands and ponds. Evening is perhaps the best time to observe the park’s mammals. This is when bats emerge to feed on plentiful flying insects and red foxes, raccoons, eastern coyotes and Virginia opossums become more active.

Sterling Forest is also home to many reptiles and amphibians. In spring and early summer, listen to choruses of green, pickerel, wood and bullfrogs and American and Fowler’s toads. The state-endangered northern cricket frog also resides in the park. Painted and snapping turtles can be seen basking around lakes and ponds. Of the park’s snake species, visitors are most likely to encounter the harmless common garter or black rat snake.

Special Tips: This site has some accessible features, including a small fishing platform on the Ramapo River and the visitors center.

845-351-5907, 116 Old Forge Road, Tuxedo, NY 10987, www.nysparks.com

Other Activities: Sterling Forest has dozens of miles of hiking and biking trails throughout its many wildlife habitats and scenic areas. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also popular. The Appalachian Trail passes through the northern part of the park.

Ownership: Palisades Inter. Park Comm. NYS Office of Parks, Rec & Historic Preservation 
Size: 21,935 acres 
Closest Town: Tuxedo

Facilities:
ParkingFishingCross Country SkiingHikingPicnic tablesVisitor CenterHuntingFeeLarge BoatsBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:
SpringSummerFallWinter

Sterling Forest Lake - Photo by John Rozell
Map
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
From exit 16 on the NYS Thruway, follow Rte. 17 south 6.8 miles to Rte. 17A west for 1.4 miles. Turn left (south) onto Long Meadow Rd. for 3.7 miles; turn right onto Old Forge Rd., and travel 0.5 mile.

From Rte. 17 in Tuxedo Park, turn west onto Warwick Brook Rd. After 1.9 miles, turn left onto Co. Rte. 84/Long Meadow Rd. After 2.3 miles, turn right onto Old Forge Rd. Turn right into the visitors center.

From exit 15 on the NYS Thruway, turn left onto Rte. 17 north, and go 1.5 miles. Exit right heading toward Ringwood/West Milford for 2.9 miles on Co. Rte. 72. Turn right at traffic light onto Co. Rte. 84, and travel north for 3.5 miles. Turn left onto Old Forge Rd.

Map Link

 
Sterling Forest State Park : Wildlife Viewing Area