Pauline Murdock Wildlife Management Area
The 68.5 acre Pauline Murdock Wildlife Management Area is located in Essex County, Town of Elizabethtown. 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. 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.
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.
The Boquet River flows parallel to the northwest boundary line of the property. The river provides excellent brown and rainbow trout fishing.
Rules For Use
The Pauline Murdock Wildlife Management Area is open year-round for your enjoyment in accordance with the Environmental Conservation Law and regulations.
Boundaries and parking areas are clearly marked and any special regulations are conspicuously posted at all access points.
The following actions are prohibited: Hunting, trapping, swimming, overnight camping, fires, and the use of all motorized vehicles unless specifically stated.
Please Observe Good Outdoor Manners: If You Carry It In, Carry It Out
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.
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.
The Pauline Murdock WMA map shows the location of roads, parking areas and other facilities.