Wildlife Refuges in St. Lawrence County
Just driving around the roads of St. Lawrence County wildlife can be seen in the fields, or along the roadside, including white tail deer, wild turkey, raccoon, skunk, and the occasional opossum. In a few areas you can find bald eagles in flight and nesting, as well as osprey along the St. Lawrence River. And if you are very lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a moose or a black bear.
There are a few wildlife refuges in the County, and we invite you to explore nature, take in the sites, and remember to bring your camera!
Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area, located a mile south of Black Lake is a natural wetland which is primarily an emergent marsh, with a hardwood swamp on the edge. The upland portion contains almost 100 acres of softwood, which the deer uses as wintering grounds. There is also 93 acres of open grassland for ground nesting birds.
Expect to see a variety of birds, whitetail deer, turkey, cottontail rabbit, grouse, as well as waterfowl, beaver, muskrat, mink and otter.
Recreational opportunities include hunting, fishing, trapping, bird watching and canoeing. There are two canoe launches – one near Pope Mills and thither near Macomb/Depeyster town line on State Route 184. There are no developed hiking trails in this area.
For more information about the Fish Creek WMA go to DEC’s website.
Upper & Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area
This area is a located between the Grasse and Oswegatchie rivers about 3 miles west of the village of Canton. It consists of 4,341 acres of wetlands, shallow and deep water emergent marsh. It is a valuable nesting area for water dependent birds, and has a concentration of migratory birds, as well as many wetland animals such as fisher, beaver, muskrat, snowshoe hare, whitetail deer, raccoon, mink, muskrat, otter and conttontails. Bird watchers can expect to see: grouse, turkey, pheasant, and woodcock, northern harrier, common loon, black tern, sedge wren, and osprey.
The Indian Creek Nature Center is located at the east end of the refuge off County Route 14, with observation tower, walkway and year-round trails, boardwalk and observation areas.
For more information on the Upper and Lower Lakes WMA visit DEC’s website.
Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area
This open water wetland is about 6 miles west of Massena along State Routes 37 and 131 and next to the St. Lawrence River. There are several large water areas. It is an ideal waterfowl and migratory bird nesting area. Expect to see dabbling ducks, diving ducks, and geese, as well as wading birds, shore and song birds. Also reported are raptors including bald eagles and osprey. The area is also a good habitat for cottontails, deer, turkey, snowshoe hare, grouse, and ringed-neck pheasants.
There are two observation towers that are open all year. Controlled hunting and trapping are allowed in the fall and winter with special registration. Be sure to check for more information through the New York DEC on restrictions at the Wilson Hill WMA.
Friends of Robert Moses Nature Center
The Robert Moses Nature Center is located on Robinson Bay Road, off Route 131 near Robert Moses State Park in Massena. The park is one of 28 in the 1000 Islands State Park Region and consists of more than 2,300 acres.
The Center provides the opportunity to learn about the local and regional wildlife in the area. The museum has live exhibits, mounts, aquaria, classroom, gift case, as well as a large outdoor classroom. The area is a-bloom in the summer in the gardens, and glittery in the winter snows. Take a hike or walk along the many trails, or rent snow shoes in the winter for some cool fun.
The center is open in the summer from 8 am to Dusk (about 8 pm) and in the winter, 8 am to 4:30 pm.