Stewart State Forest
|Description: Stewart State Forest’s 6,700 acres are unique in the Northeast and increasingly
rare in the Hudson Valley. The mix of upland woods, working and abandoned
farm fields, meadows and wetlands creates a unique landscape in an area
where most parks and protected lands are forests or mountains.|
Stewart is a one-of-a-kind place for animals needing transitional habitats—
birds and butterflies that love grasslands and bushes, turtles and snakes that
love open sandy fields, and frogs and salamanders that love small wetlands
surrounded by woods and fields.
Wildlife to Watch: Wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and eastern cottontail rabbits are commonly
seen at Stewart. Coyotes, gray foxes and bobcats prowl here for small mammals
and birds. Almost half of the property is wetland—swamp, marsh and wet
meadow or woods. Seven larger ponds and many smaller ones are located
throughout the forest. Stewart has an active beaver population, as well as
northern river otters and muskrats. Great blue heron rookeries have been
reported in its wetlands. Threatened pied-billed grebes have also been
observed. Bats are often seen at sundown during warmer months.
Stewart’s fields and meadows attract many songbirds, including blue-winged
and prairie warblers. Ovenbirds, scarlet tanagers, veerys and American wood-cock nest in wooded areas. Plentiful small birds and mammals attract several
kinds of hawks, including Cooper’s, red-shouldered, and sharp-shinned hawks,
as well as the occasional passing northern harrier.
On a sunny day, look for sunfish, shiners and perch in pond shallows. Several
species of turtles and snakes are found here, as are several species of frogs and
salamanders, including Jefferson, blue-spotted and marbled salamanders.
Special Tips: Stewart State Forest includes 18 miles of gravel roads and more than 22 miles
of major trails which provide unparalleled recreation, including hiking, crosscountry
skiing and fishing in season. Mountain biking and snowmobiling are
allowed on specifically designated trails and multiple-use trails. Horseback riding
is allowed on all multiple-use trails and roads.
Other Activities: This site is open from dawn to dusk, year-round. Hunting and trapping
are allowed, guided by statewide laws and special Stewart State
Forest regulations. Fishing is allowed in season. Camping is allowed
Ownership: NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Closest Town: New Windsor, Montgomery and Newburg
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: