EBFC Exploratory Hike
© Loretta Lepkpski

A path to a magical place

Have you sensed that Tug Hill’s been missing something? As beautiful as it is, as lucky as we are living here, we’ve been lacking something that other special places treasure in their community and tout as economic development.

Unlike other areas, we haven’t had a long-distance trail to allow people to experience the wildness, beauty, and solitude of Tug Hill. Bob McNamara, a local naturalist and passionate birder, is working to change that. Bob, along with a dedicated group of volunteers, is leading a community effort to design, and construct, a 20-mile primitive hiking trail right down the center of Tug Hill.


EBFC Exploratory Hike
© Loretta Lepkowski


A special place

Known as the core forest, this area is dense and at times hard to navigate —but it’s full of beautiful mature trees, and the East Branch of the Fish Creek flows through the forest.

“This is a region where Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust has been partnering with a variety of stakeholders to protect this land for a long time,” remarked Bob, who is also a board member for the land trust.

Locals know how special this place is, and in 2006 through a unique collaboration of local communities, hunting and other recreation groups, conservation groups and the state, over 45,000 acres were protected.

The deal secured the drinking water for the City of Rome, hunting and other recreational activities for the public, and allows timber management.


A partnership and shared vision

Fish Creek Sign“It has been a real team approach to making this trail a reality,” noted Bob, “crossing lands owned by New York State (NYS), private lands subject to NYS easements requiring public access, and lands owned by The Nature Conservancy.”

Until now the Tug Hill core forest has been devoid of a foot trail that is open to public access. This trail will allow hikers and skiers to explore the heart of Tug Hill and visit a wide variety of wild Tug Hill landscapes.

The trail is off to a great start, with initial design and flagging taking place last fall to kick start the project. We can’t wait to work with you to make this dream a reality.


Want to help?

If you’d like to volunteer with trail creation and maintenance, please call Lianna Lee or email her at You can spend as little as a couple of hours, or as much as a couple of days—we appreciate any time and talent you can offer.


Below, East Branch Fish Creek

East Branch Fish Creek