Sterling Forest State Park comprises 21,935.08 acres of nearly pristine natural refuge amidst of one of the nation's most densely populated areas, a remarkable piece of woodland, a watershed for millions, and a tremendous outdoor recreation area. This unbroken deep-forest habitat is important for the survival of many resident and migratory species, including black bear, a variety of hawks and songbirds and many rare invertebrates and plants. Hunting, fishing and hiking opportunities are available.
To help disseminate knowledge about Sterling Forest's environment and history, the commission built the US Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Visitor Center. The visitor center overlooking Sterling Lake features exhibits about the local environment as well as an auditorium for related presentations.
Dogs only, must be on a leash not more than 6 feet.
Park Hours: dawn to dusk
Lautenberg Visitor Center hours: 8:00 am until 4:30 pm, daily
Permit sales and Gift Shop: 8:30 am - 12:00 pm; 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Hunting (With Park Permit): Big game, small game, turkey hunting allowed.
Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.
The easy-to-use Empire Pass card is $80- and your key to all-season enjoyment with unlimited day-use entry at most facilities operated by State Parks and the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation including forests, beaches, trails and more. Purchase online or contact your favorite park for more information. Learn more about our Admission Programs including the Empire Pass.
New! Download this park's digital map to your iOS Apple and Android device.
Key BCA Criteria:
- Migratory concentration site
- Diverse species concentration site
- Individual species concentration site
- Species at risk site
- Bird research site
The Sterling Forest® BCA is part of Sterling Forest State Park. The BCA contains one of the largest tracts of contiguous forest habitat in the Highlands, which are critical to species that are sensitive to human disturbance and need large areas in which to live and reproduce. A comprehensive inventory by the New York Natural Heritage Program indicates that most of the Park is covered by either ecological communities that have statewide significance or of such quality that they should be protected as significant examples within New York State. The Park has considerable biodiversity including a diversity of bird species. A part of the Hudson Highlands, the area has strong relief ranging from 800-1200' in elevation.
Birds identified within the park include Peregrine Falcon (endangered), Pied-billed Grebe (threatened), Least Bittern (threatened), American Bittern (special concern), Osprey (special concern), Sharp-shinned Hawk (special concern), Cooper's Hawk (special concern) Northern Goshawk (special concern), Red-shouldered Hawk (special concern), Common Nighthawk (special concern), Whip-poor-will (special concern), Red-headed Woodpecker (special concern), Horned Lark (special concern), Golden-winged Warbler (special concern), Cerulean Warbler (special concern), and Yellow-breasted Chat (special concern). Numerous other species contribute to the diversity of birds within the BCA including Broad-winged Hawk, Acadian Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Worm-eating Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Pine Warbler, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded Warbler, Canada Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Orchard Oriole, and Purple Finch.
Download a copy of the BCA map.
HUNTING PERMIT SALES BEGIN MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2023
PERMITS ISSUED DAILY 8:30AM-12:00PM AND 1:00PM-4:00PM
NYS DEC hunting license and park permit ($5) fee are required to hunt big and small game, and turkey. Please check State hunting regulations (https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/65231.html) for specifics on game and manner of taking for each species.
There is no September hunting in Sterling Forest State Park.