We have combined 2MASS and POSS II data in a search for nearby ultracool (later than M6.5) dwarfs with Ks < 12. Spectroscopic follow-up observations identify 53 M7 to M9.5 dwarfs and seven L dwarfs. The observed space density is 0.0045 ± 0.0008 M8-M9.5 dwarfs per cubic parsec, without accounting for biases, consistent with a mass function that is smooth across the stellar/substellar limit. We show the observed frequency of Hα emission peaks at ∼ 100% for M7 dwarfs and then decreases for cooler dwarfs. In absolute terms, however, as measured by the ratio of Hα to bolometric luminosity, none of the ultracool M dwarfs can be considered very active compared to earlier M dwarfs, and we Visiting Astronomer, Kitt Peak National Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatories, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.