The Friends of the Great Swamp
of southeastern New York State

Recreation

The Great Swamp offers many opportunites for receational opportunities in each of the four seasons.

There are year-round opportunities to view nature, including many interesting and endangered species of plants, as well as resident and migratory animal life.

Winter temperatures freeze the shallower waters of the Swamp, making hiking and cross country skiing a possibility. Spring brings birding opportunities as migratory birds return from their winter homes. Leaves return to the plants and trees, and the Spring-blooming plants give a hint of the bright colors that are to follow as warmer temperatures return. Summer activities include fishing and canoeing, and the chance to view the many plant species while in full bloom. Fall again brings special birdwatching opportunites as many bird species migrate south to their winter homes. Many of the plant species change to spectacular Fall colors.

For many fishermen "getting away for a day" means taking rod and reel and maybe a canoe and heading for the East Branch Croton in the Swamp or trying out the Putnam County owned section of Haviland Hollow Brook. There are many fish in the East Branch Croton: Large Mouth and Small Mouth Bass, Sunnies, Yellow Perch, Bullheads and Carp, to name a few. The DEC stocks brown trout. Most of the deeper pools lie south of the bridge over Route 22. The wide area on the river known as the "lake" is a favorite spot.

FrOGS receives many inquiries about canoeing and kayaking opportunities in the Great Swamp. Many areas of the Swamp are deep enough for canoeing and kayaking most of the year. Please note that our small group of volunteers are not able to travel the Swamp on a regular basis, and we may not be the best source for information on the current conditions in the Swamp. One of the best ways to tour the Swamp is to join one of our public canoe trips that are held every spring. Details are posted on our upcoming events page a few weeks before the canoe trips take place.

Good canoe/kayak access is provided at the public beach at Green Chimneys school on Doansburg Rd. in Patterson, or from the Town of Patterson Environmental Park off South Street in the Patterson Hamlet. The best kayaking in the Swamp is from the Patterson Environmental Park, south to the Green Chimneys beach (or from Green Chimneys north to Patterson). In some areas, depending on how dry the weather has been, it may be necessary to walk your canoe or kayak over dry or shallow areas to continue your trip. There are also some fallen trees blocking the river that you wil have to climb over or go around if you are able to do so. There are also several beaver dams. Please be aware that canoes and kayaks are the only boats we recommend on the river. The entire swamp, over 6,000 acres, is home to multitudes of wild flora and fauna. We ask all who travel within the Swamp to recognize and protect this critically important resource. More information on these and other accesses to the Swamp are on our Access and Viewing Points page.

FrOGS also receives many inquires about canoe or kayak rentals. Since FrOGS has no experience with these businesses, we cannot endorse or recommend any of them. However, our members have reported good experiences with the following business:

There really are no suitable places to camp in the Great Swamp because any place that is accessible is private land and not available to the general public.

There are many educational and recreational opportunities offered by the Great Swamp. But FrOGS would also like to remind the public that the Swamp is a threatened and endangered area containing many sensitive ecosystems. Visitors are reminded to tread carefully and to respect the sensitive nature of the Great Swamp watershed. The Swamp purifies the drinking water for our area wells, and also feeds the New York City reservoir system. The Swamp is a glorious place to visit, but we all must do our part to protect it.

Access and Viewing Points in the Great Swamp