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Pauline Murdock Wildlife Management Area

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Pauline Murdock Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Pauline Murdock WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a 68.5 acre parcel. In 1974, the property was received as a gift from Mr. Robert B. Murdock, in memory of his wife Pauline. It was accepted as a state refuge to enhance and perpetuate local wildlife.

Featured Activities

White-tail fawn

Fishing
Pauline Murdock WMA is open to fishing; please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing. The Boquet River flows parallel to the northwest boundary line of the property. The river provides excellent brown and rainbow trout fishing.

Wildlife Viewing
A 700 yard nature trail has been established between the Elizabethtown-Wadhams Road and the High Meadows Road. The trail begins a steep incline at the log crib dam but then levels off for the remaining distance. It offers the hiker pleasant views of songbirds as it winds through the boreal northern forest. Blue birds and cedar waxwings use the river and flood plain habitat. White-tailed deer can also be observed. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF) (85KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) (240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guides.

Pauline Murdock Brown Sign

Directions

The property is approximately one-half mile east of the village of Elizabethtown and is accessible by Essex County Route 8, also known as the Elizabethtown-Wadhams Road.

Take Exit 31 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87). Turn east onto State Route 9N - turn left if coming from the south or turn right if coming from the north. Take State Route 9N west 4.2 miles to State Route 9 in the Village of Elizabethtown. Turn right onto State Route 9. Take State Route 9 north 0.3 mile to County Route 8 (Elizabethtown-Wadhams Road). Take County Route 8 east about 0.5 miles to a grassy parking area next to a large DEC sign on the right side of the road - Get Google Map Driving Directions (Leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Pauline Murdock WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Camping
  • Kindling fires
  • 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) Also, practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

How We Manage

wildlife restoration logo

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Pauline Murdock WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing/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.

About 5 acres of the parcel is flood plain and the rest is a moderately steep mountain slope. A manmade canal clearly accentuates the terminus of the flood plain and the base of the mountain. This canal now directs snow melt and rainfall to a very small man made pond to a log crib dam and continues to the Boquet River.

The flood plain is currently in a pioneer old field successional stage. A variety of grasses and wildflowers compliment the area and provide seasonal color change. Wild grape vines cling to the remaining fence post and wire. Raspberry, lilac and red barberry bushes denote buried building foundation sites. White pine, quaking aspen, speckled alder, and fire cherry are the primary woody plants.

The mountain slope is a mature white pine-northern hardwood forest. The primary forest species include white pine, eastern hemlock, sugar maple, beech, red pine and red oak.

Similar to other portions of the Adirondacks the first users of this property were Indians. Arrowheads and hatchets were found on the area by local residents.

The Village of Elizabethtown was settled in 1795. The initial industries of the area consisted of lumbering and mining, which contributed greatly to the development of the village. Eventually mining of ore led to the development of several foundries and forges. The Valley Forge and Sawmill were established in 1846 by Messrs. Whallon and Judd on the flood plain of the property. Grey's Atlas of 1876 indicates four dwellings on the property.

Remnants of the old forge are still visible today and approximately 600 feet of the one mile canal remains on the property. At one time this canal diverted water upstream on the Boquet River to the forge and provided the necessary water for the operation of the forges's hammer. The water passed through the waterwheel and was quickly returned to the Boquet.

In 1910 the forge was dismantled and the owner of the property at that time, Mrs. Hale, had instructed Mr. Clark, the caretaker, to create a small pasture on the property. After this work was completed Mrs. Hale maintained approximately six head of cattle for a number of years. At approximately the same time a forest fire struck the property. Several fire-scarred trees and stumps are still visible today.

Tourism Information for Nearby Attractions, Amenities & Activities

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.

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

DEC Lands and Facilities

Gas, food and supplies, dining, and lodging are available in the nearby communities of Elizabethtown and Westport.