Monday, January 3, 2022

DEC Announces 2022 Exam Dates for Licensed Guides Program

paul smiths

Exams to be Held Online
The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that examinations are scheduled for individuals seeking to become licensed guides in New York State. The exams being offered are for guiding in the following categories: camping; fishing; hiking; hunting; whitewater; rock climbing; ice climbing; and certified skilled with boats and canoes.

A guide is a person at least 18 years of age who offers services for hire, part or all of which include directing, instructing, or aiding another individual in fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, whitewater rafting/canoeing/kayaking, or rock and ice climbing.

DEC’s Special Licenses Unit administers licensing of outdoor guides. Applicants need not be a resident of New York State to receive a guide’s license.

To provide enhanced access to examinations for applicants, DEC is offering licensed guide examinations online in 2022. Exam dates and application deadlines are:

  • Feb. 4, 2022 – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Registration must be received by Jan. 28, 2022)
  • March 5, 2022 – New York State Outdoor Guides Association (NYSOGA) meeting only (Registration must be received by Feb. 26, 2022). In addition, in-person examinations will be offered at the NYSOGA winter rendezvous on Mar. 5, 2022.
  • April 8, 2022 – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Registration must be received by April 1, 2022)
  • May 13, 2022 – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Registration must be received by May 6, 2022)
  • June 17, 2022 – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Registration must be received by June 10, 2022)
  • Sept. 16, 2022 – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Registration must be received by Sept. 9, 2022)
  • Oct. 14, 2022 – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Registration must be received by Oct. 7, 2022)

The registration deadline for exams is seven days before the examination. Instructions and registration information about the exams can be found on DEC’s Licensed Guide Program webpage.

To register, visit the 2022 Licensed Guide Exams Registration website and follow the directions. Applicants will receive an email acknowledging registration, and an additional one-time link for use to access the website on the date of the exam. Upon successful completion of the exam(s), applicants will receive information on applying for the appropriate guide license, including an application form. Please do not send applications or fees prior to passing the examination(s).

An outline of exam content and a study guide can be found on the DEC Licensed Guide Program webpage. The Fieldbook, a reference book published by the Boy Scouts of America, is also recommended and can be found at a local library or bookstore. A list of current New York State Licensed Guides is available online.

For questions or assistance, contact the Special Licenses Unit at NYS DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752; Phone: 518-402-8985, Fax: 518-402-8925; Email:

Guides at Paul Smith’s, Paul Smith’s College Joan Weill Adirondack Library Archives

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

9 Responses

  1. Bill Ott says:

    I assume all four guides plus the guide dog passed the canoe safety exam before being issued their guide licenses.

    • Bill Ott says:

      All joking aside, I rank Adk Guides right up there with Adk forest rangers and US Army Special Forces soldiers. I got to meet guide Jim Burnett (sp?) several times in 1994 and 5, and learned more from him in a few meets than I had in the previous twenty years of being in the woods – not specific lessons, but attitude and respect for the woods.

  2. Anita Dingman says:

    They used to have an Adirondack Guide program in Warrensburg NY for teens and my grandson enjoyed very much. He learned a lot there. I think it was under 4H but may be wrong. I don’t know if it is still available since the man who was the head of it passed a few years ago. If your kids love the woods and camping you might want to check if it is still available.

    • louis curth says:

      Ms. Dingman is remembering the work done by Andrew Sprague who died in 2019. As Director of Warren County Cooperative Extension from 1972 to 2007, Andy promoted conservation education through many successful programs including his “Adirondack Guides” program for teenagers.

      Many rangers, including me, worked with Andy to host the conservation field days he sponsored annually at Pack Forest for 6th graders from area schools. His leadership and vision about educating youth about conservation was far ahead of its time.

      Today,As we struggle with a surging population of outdoor users who lack the basic skills for safe, low impact outdoor visits here, perhaps we – including today’s NYS licensed guides – should revisit the good work of people like Andy Sprague for hints on how we can help alleviate this problem.

  3. geogymn says:

    Is the water just inches from the gunwales on this craft?

  4. JohnL says:

    4 grown men, a deer, a dog, and their hunting gear in about a 14 foot canoe with maybe 1 1/2″ of freeboard. What could go wrong with that? Ah….it was a different time then.

  5. jeff diorio says:

    This is great but almost impossible to get in touch with the DEC folks to confirm application is received……

    Submitted a month ago and no email or phone calls returned ………Holly Molly

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