The public will have a special opportunity to visit areas that are usually restricted in the Upper and Lower Lakes and Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Areas in St. Lawrence County Saturday, Aug. 20 through Wednesday, Aug. 31.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Wildlife Manager James Farquhar said, “These special areas offer a variety of natural habitats for people to experience and provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Opening these refuge wetland areas to the public for a limited period gives visitors an opportunity to connect with nature through hiking, canoeing and bird watching with minimal impacts on wildlife.”
This is the 16th year DEC will open the WMA wetlands for expanded public access. For most of the year, these wetlands are off limits to the public to provide feeding and resting areas for migratory waterfowl.
The restricted wetland areas are also used by a number of New York State’s endangered, threatened, and rare species including bald eagles, black terns, and northern harriers (marsh hawks), among others. By late August, the nesting and brooding season is mostly complete and the fall migration period has not yet begun, enabling DEC to allow public access.
Upper & Lower Lakes WMA is about two miles west of Canton along State Rt. 68. This WMA, the largest in the DEC’s Region 6, is an 8,770-acre upland/wetland complex between the Grasse and Oswegatchie rivers.
Created in the 1950s during the construction of the St Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, Wilson Hill WMA is in northern St. Lawrence County, about six miles west of Massena off State Rt. 37. The 3,434-acre area along the St. Lawrence River consists of several large pools of open water marsh bordered by a combination of dense cattails, brushy wetlands, forest, and upland meadow.
More info, bird lists and maps: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8282.html.