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Squaw Island Wildlife Management Area

Squaw Island WMA locator map

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The primary purposes of the Squaw Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. A sign overlooking Squaw Island at the end of the Canandaigua City Pier describes the island, at less than a quarter-acre in size, as the smallest State Park in the New York. It may be better thought of as the smallest Wildlife Management Area in the state, as it is under the jurisdiction of DEC's Bureau of Wildlife, even though it is technically designated a Unique Area. It has gained some level of notoriety as being one of only a few places worldwide where one can find "water biscuits". These flat, whitish cakes of lime, form when the lime falls out of solution in the water and is deposited over small objects such as pebbles or twigs. Squaw Island, once a popular picnic and day trip destination, has gradually been reduced in size by wave action from two acres to its present one-fifth acre. In recent times, projects have been undertaken to protect its eroding southern shoreline.

Featured Activities

Hiking

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General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Please stay on the designated trails to protect the diversity and richness of the plant communities found within this area.

Hunting

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General information on hunting includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

The only hunting opportunity that exists on Squaw Island is waterfowl hunting. NOTE: Migratory game bird hunters are reminded that it is unlawful to discharge a shotgun over water unless there is no person, livestock, house, or public structure situated along the line of discharge within 500 ft. from the point of discharge. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons).

Fishing

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General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

Persons fishing from Squaw Island may expect to catch fish found in shallow warm water including sunfish, largemouth bass, and pickerel.

Wildlife

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General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

General information about birding includes information on bird species found in the state, Bird Conservation Areas, bird webcams, and birding organizations. Although a birder on Squaw Island could very well catch a glimpse of a Bald Eagle or Osprey, or other raptor, the main birds likely to be seen are waterfowl species. Use both the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

Directions

Squaw Island WMA Brown Sign

Squaw Island is located at the northwest corner of Canandaigua Lake and is adjacent to the City of Canandaigua in Ontario County. The only way to access the island itself is by boat. A public boat launch is available at the north end of Canandaigua Lake at Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park, and paddlers may launch directly off Canandaigua City Pier. Both are in close proximity to Squaw Island.

All Google links leave DEC website.

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Squaw Island Wildlife Management Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Squaw Island WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Camping
  • Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs, or other property
  • Overnight storage of boats
  • Cutting, removing or damaging living vegetation
  • Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
  • Littering
  • Storage of personal property

Outdoor Safety Tips

NOTE: Ticks are active whenever temperatures are above freezing, but especially so in the late spring and early fall. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme and several other diseases. More information on deer ticks and Lyme disease can be obtained from the NYS Department of Health (leaves DEC website).

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How We Manage Squaw Island Wildlife Management Area

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Squaw Island WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and photography). Funding to maintain and manage this site is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration or "Pittman-Robertson" Act, which is acquired through excise taxes on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

Due to its small size and limited accessibility, DEC does not perform any wildlife or recreational management activities on Squaw Island.

Map of lands included in the Northern Finger Lakes UMP.
Map of Northern Finger Lakes UMP

Unit Management Plan

In early 2015 the Department started the development process of a new Unit Management Plan by combining Honeoye Inlet Wildlife Management Area with eight other properties to create the Northern Finger Lakes Unit Management Plan. Properties in the Northern Finger Lakes UMP are located in five counties: Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, and Yates. They include:

The purpose of a unit management plan is twofold; (1) to define management goals and objectives for state land, and (2) to prepare a ten-year plan of action to achieve those objectives.

Public involvement is an important component of the UMP process. The plan has not yet been written, and your input will assist us in assembling it. We invite you to provide us with your comments or concerns regarding the management of any of the DEC properties included in the UMP. Your comments may be general or specific and will be accepted at any time throughout the process. Comments, concerns, or suggestions may be emailed or mailed to the Bath Sub-office NYS DEC, State Land Management, 7291 Coon Rd, Bath NY 14810.

Once the draft plan is completed, the public will be invited to review it and attend a public meeting to share your views on the Draft UMP. Comments will be weighed against law, regulations, DEC Commissioner's directives, and other public comments before changes are made to the draft plan. All questions and/or comments will be included in the final UMP.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Gas, food and supplies, dining, and lodging are available in the nearby community of Canandaigua, NY. Several private campgrounds may be found within 20 miles.

Web links below can provide information about other recreation, attractions, and amenities in this area.

State Lands and Facilities

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails, and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories, or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.