Considerable recreational opportunities exist in the Town of Stony Creek. Approximately 29,700 acres of New York State Forest Preserve land exists in the Town, primarily in the west and numerous opportunities to access trails, streams and lakes exist on privately owned land in the Town.
The Town of Stony Creek is well know for activity such as fishing, hunting and winter snowmobiling, but has extensive opportunities for hiking, camping and other wintertime sports such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, wintertime camping and ice fishing.
The following is a listing of activities and associated locations on State Forest Preserve (available to the public) and at limited locations accessible from highways: Fishing, Hunting, Snowmobiling, Hiking & Camping.
Extensive brook trout fishing is available (in season) on 600 acre Wilcox Lake ( SNY stocked) located in the western portion of Stony Creek. Wilcox Lake outlet eventually drains into East Stony Creek which is the main watershed of Forest Preserve Land in the western portion of the Town where a native brook trout fishery exists. Most of the year- round tributaries East Stony Creek also contain brook trout.
The Stony Creek (actual stream) watershed in the central and eastern portions of the Town, drains easterly into the Hudson River and is stocked annually with either brook trout or brown trout. There are several locations where access to Stony Creek is available for fisherman. Brook trout season extends from April 1 through October 15 of each year. Additional site specific fishing regulations may exist and ice fishing is closed for these trout streams and lakes in the Town of Stony Creek.
Another popular fishing destination for fishermen year round is Harrisburg Lake located at the extreme western end of the Harrisburg Road. This approximately 700 acre warm water lake is accessible from the adjacent highway causeway and supports a variety of bass, pickerel and other warm water fish. Harrisburg Lake is open most of the winter for ice fishing for pickerel and is a great location for families due to the high pickerel numbers and subsequent increased ice fishing tip-up activity.
Stony Creek is well know for its remote big game hunting in the Adirondacks of New York State. Extensive public land available in the Town offers typical Adirondack deer and bear hunting in the fall with a variety of big game seasons running from mid- September through the first week of December. Deer populations average only about 2 deer per square mile, but each year about 6-8 large bucks in excess of 200 ponds are harvested in addition to many large racked smaller deer. Early bear seasons starting in mid September, big game archery and muzzle loading seasons provide for a variety of opportunities throughout the fall for big game hunters in the Town of Stony Creek. Small game seasons in the Town include grouse, varying hare, (snow-shoe rabbit), squirrel, wild turkey, coyote, fox, and bobcat.
An extensive system of snowmobile trails exist within the Town of Stony Creek that interface with trails in the adjoining towns. Primarily associated with the Warren County snowmobile trail system, opportunities exist for snowmobilers to travel extensive distances on both groomed and ungroomed trails. 11 miles of public snowmobile trails connect with hundreds of miles of trails in adjoining towns in the Warren County area. In general these trails are in there best and most accessible condition after the region accumulates in excess of 12 inches of snow, usually beginning in January.
Most of the public hiking trails in Stony Creek are associated with the extensive State Forest Preserve Lands available in the Town. All of the snowmobile trails are open to hiking and access many of the popular locations (lakes, ponds, vistas, etc.) An excerpt from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Draft Unit Management Plan for the 124,643 acre Wilcox Lake Wild Forest contains this description of hiking opportunities in the area:
VISUAL AND SCENIC RESOURCES/LAND PROTECTION
The natural landscape of the WLWF (Wilcox Lake Wild Forest) is an important scenic resource that draws visitors to the unit and adds to the unit’s recreational appeal. The WLWF affords a variety of open vistas and scenic views, each dramatic and unique. Wetlands, mature forests, roaring headwater streams, and rocky, open summits ringed with cliffs add to the quality of visitors’ experiences, whether they are driving down Rte. 8 on a Sunday afternoon, fishing for trophy brook trout in a small, unnamed beaver pond, or snowshoeing up Mount Blue. Author Lincoln Barnett summed it up best in his 1974 classic book, The Ancient Adirondacks, stating that within the unit,
“...there are deep, silent forests, plunging ravines and gorges, tumbling waterfalls, still lakes, soaring mountains, and bird-haunted wetlands.”
All the opportunities for hiking in the Town of Stony Creek can be converted in wintertime to a day of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in some beautiful wintertime settings.
Camping in Stony Creek is primarily oriented toward the public accessible State Forest Preserve. Approximately 8 (state designated) primitive campsites are located along the Bakertown Road leading into the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest from the vicinity of Harrisburg Lake in Stony Creek. There are also two hiking accessible lean-tos located on the shoreline of Wilcox Lake. Primitive tent camping on State Forest Preserve else ware is limited to a minimum distance of 150 feet from roads, trails, streams and water bodies by Art. 9 of the NYS Environmental Conservation Law.