Restricted wildlife management areas to open for two weeks in Massena and Canton
Thursday, August 7, 2014 - 6:05 am

Updated 8/7 10:54 a.m.

State lawmakers are opening restricted wildlife management areas in Massena and Canton for two weeks, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The lands include the Wilson Hill WMA in Massena and the Upper and Lower Lakes WNA in Canton.

They will open to the public from Aug. 16 to 29.

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 6 miles west of Massena, off state Route 37. Situated along the St. Lawrence River, the 3,434-acre area consists of several large pools of open water marsh, bordered by a combination of dense cattails, brushy wetlands, forest and upland meadow.

Upper and Lower Lakes WMA is about 2 miles west of Canton along state Route 68 in St. Lawrence County. This WMA is an 8,770-acre upland and wetland complex between the Grasse and Oswegatchie rivers.

“These special areas offer a variety of natural habitats for people to experience and provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities,” DEC regional director Judy Drabicki said. “Opening these refuge wetland areas to the public for a limited period gives visitors a chance to connect with nature through hiking, canoeing and bird watching, with minimal impacts on wildlife.”

For most of the year, these wetlands are off limits in order 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, Cuomo said.

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