New York State In-depth

Registration for DEC Summer Camp begins April 2 | news

ALBANY — New York State Department of Environment (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced Thursday that online registration for the 2023 summer camp program will open on Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 1 p.m

Applications should be submitted through the online registration program available via a link from the Summer Camps website. (See below).

Parents and guardians are also advised to monitor this website to fill out registration forms and encouraged to register early as spaces fill up quickly.

“DEC’s Summer Camps program has a long tradition of bringing youth closer to nature through fun, hands-on, and spiritual activities that create lifelong connections with nature,” said Seggos.

“Our camps offer children fewer and fewer opportunities to unplug and immerse themselves in nature. Kids at DEC Summer Camps are guided on hiking, canoeing, and overnight camping adventures each week by highly trained staff.”


Now in its 76th year, the Summer Camps program offers week-long conservation education adventures for children ages 11-17.

DEC operates four residential camps for children:

Camp Colby at Saranac Lake (Franklin County)

Camp DeBruce at Livingston Manor (Sullivan County)

Camp Rushford in Caneadea (Allegany County)

Camp Pack Forest in Warrensburg, Warren County.


The opening of certain camps is subject to staff availability.

The capacities of the camps will be reduced again next year in order to offer the safest possible experience. New and returning solo campers are limited to one camp week. If spaces are still available after May 26, campers can register for multiple weeks. Eligible campers who were unable to enjoy camp in 2022 due to camp closures will be given priority registration in 2023.

The Colby, DeBruce, and Rushford camps offer two-week programs for children ages 14 to 17.

Camp Colby and Rushford offer five weeks for children ages 11 to 13, and Camp DeBruce offers four weeks.

Camp Pack Forest will take children aged 14 to 17 for five weeks and 11 to 13 for two weeks.

The full schedule of camp opportunities for different age groups is available on the Summer Camps website at


Campers have the opportunity to take part in a variety of outdoor adventures and are encouraged to try new things. Activities include fishing, bird watching, fly tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering and safety education for hunters.

A hunter training program with weapons, bows or trappers is offered at each camp during four of the weeks. Class size is limited for hunter training programs and campers must register at registration and complete homework in advance.


In addition to adventure experiences, DEC campers engage in fun, hands-on outdoor activities and explorations that focus on ecological principles of fields, forests, streams, and ponds. Campers can collect bugs in a field, use nets in a stream, study soil composition, measure tree sizes, or practice taking field notes and journaling. Excursions to nearby states may include kettle bogs, state parks, fish hatcheries or natural museums.

Camp Pack Forest is offering an “Outdoor Adventure Week” in week 4 (July 23-28). DEC encourages teens ages 14-17 who love the outdoors to enroll in this popular program that will help them deepen their fun and broaden their horizons at Camp Pack Forest.

During this week, campers develop practical outdoor skills that go beyond the traditional camp week. In addition to our typical camp activities, campers can get involved in team and confidence building activities, forestry, citizen science, conservation science and more. Guest DECs and natural resource experts will introduce campers to a variety of career opportunities.


All four camps will offer at least six week-long sessions (Sunday through Friday) beginning July 2, 2023; Camp Colby, Rushford and Pack Forest will operate for seven weeks. One week camp stays $350 per child for 2023 and includes meals, excursions and a camp t-shirt.

In addition to inviting parents to enroll their children in the DEC Environmental Education Summer Camp program, athletic clubs, community groups, and environmental organizations are encouraged to sponsor one or more children for a week at camp. Information on becoming a sponsor and managing sponsor accounts is available at on the DEC website.

For more information, please visit the DEC website at, email [email protected], visit NYS DEC Summer Camps on Facebook, or write to: DEC Camps, 3rd Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany , New York 12233-5256.

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