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Wickham Marsh Wildlife Management Area

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Wickham Marsh WMA Locator Map

The primary purposes of Wickham Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. The area encompasses 862 acres. Land purchases for this management area commenced in 1950 with the acquisition of 176 acres from the Watson Estate and were completed in 1970 with the additions of 136 acres from Loyola Villa and 370 acres from the Mattig Corporation. The habitat presently includes a remnant of the Pine Barrens ecosystem of pitch pine, scrub oak, sweet fern, and blueberry, as well as invading white pine, grey birch, hazelnut, aspen, cinquefoil, and bracken fern.

Kiosk with posters describing birds view in Wickham Marsh
Wickham Marsh WMA is designated as a Bird
Conservation Area
(kiosk describes resident birds).

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 and Trapping

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trap

Wildlife Management Unit: 5G

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

Deer and waterfowl entice hunters to Wickham Marsh in October and November. Beaver and muskrat attract the interest of trappers. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Fishing

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

Warm water fish, including largemouth bass, sunfish, bullhead, bowfin, northern pike, and chain pickerel can be found in the marsh. A car top boat launch located on Lake Street provides access to the WMA.

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.

A series of foot trails have been constructed so visitors can access the management area. The trails help direct visitors to various points of interest located throughout the site, including scenic vistas and unique ecological communities. They offer individuals an opportunity to learn more about nature and examine the relationship between habitat and wildlife. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

Accessibility

Accessible observation platform at Wickham Marsh
Accessible observation platform at Wickham Marsh WMA.
access for people with disabilities

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

Wickham Marsh Wildlife Management Area features a wheelchair accessible trail and observation platform. A kiosk is located along the trail and one designated parking spot is reserved for people with disabilities. The parking area is located off Giddings Road (Back Road). A 300 foot long accessible trail brings users from the parking area to the viewing platform. A Bird Conservation Area kiosk is located halfway between the parking area and the platform.

The observation platform sits 200 feet above the marsh on the top of a steep ridge providing a 180 degree view of the marsh. Hundreds of acres of marsh and forest including two rare ecological communities can be seen from the platform. A northern white cedar swamp is located at the base of the ridge and a rich shrub fen is located just between the swamp and the mix of open water and cattail marsh. About 7 acres of grasslands can be seen on the opposite side of the marsh, and the osprey pole and nesting platform is located where the marsh meets the grassland.

Directions

Wickham Marsh Brown Sign

Take Exit 35 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87). Turn east onto Bear Swamp Road (Route 442) - turn right if coming from the south or turn left if coming from the north. Take Bear Swamp Road approximately 3 miles to State Route 9. Turn right onto State Route 9 south.

To access the north and east sides of the WMA: Take State Route 9 south 2.8 miles to Giddings Road (AKA Back Road).

  • Take Giddings Road east 1 mile to a small pull-off/parking area and trail head on the left. (44.5377°N, -73.4328°W) - Get Google Map Driving Directions (leaves DEC website)
  • Take Giddings Road east 1.5 mile to a large parking area on the left. This parking area includes a universally accessible trail and viewing platform. (44.541°N, -73.4244°W) - Get Google Map Driving Directions (leaves DEC website)
  • Take Giddings Road east 1.8 miles. Giddings Road turns sharply to the south and runs along the shore of Lake Champlain. Several pull-off parking areas, a small car-top boat launch, and a larger parking area and trail head are located along this half mile stretch of road between the marsh and Lake. Access to Lake Champlain is impeded by the rail road bed that runs parallel to the road. (44.5404°N, -73.4193°W) - Get Google Map Driving Directions (leaves DEC website)

To access the south side of the WMA and the interior hiking trails: Take State Route 9 south to State Route 373. Turn left onto State Route 373. Take State Route 373 east 1.3 miles. A large parking area with its entrance marked by a large DEC sign is on the left (north) side of the road. (44.5194886°N, -73.43581°W) - Get Google Map Driving Directions

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 Wickham Marsh 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 and Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Wickham Marsh 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).

How We Manage Wickham Marsh Wildlife Management Area

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Wickham Marsh 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.

Prior to state ownership, the area was used primarily for agriculture and timber harvesting. Today, Wickham Marsh is managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for a variety of recreational and scientific purposes, including: natural resources education, wildlife observation and photography, fishing, trapping, hunting, and canoeing. One of the primary objectives is to provide nesting and feeding habitat to a variety of waterfowl.

Management techniques such as the construction of a water level control structure at the outlet of the marsh, ditching, and shoreline clearing have increased the amount of waterfowl nesting and feeding habit that was originally present at the site. A 6 acre grassland has been constructed adjacent to the marsh and is maintained as a permanent stand of dense clumping grasses to provide upland nesting habitat for waterfowl and other birds. In addition, wood duck nest boxes have been erected throughout the area. These artificial nest locations mimic the natural, but scarce, tree cavities utilized by this species of duck. As a result of these efforts, wood ducks, black ducks, mallards, mergansers, and teal are readily observed on the management area.

In 2008, thanks to the assistance of High Peaks Audubon Society and New York State Electric and Gas, DEC placed an artificial osprey nest platform next to the cattail marsh. Osprey have used the platform every summer since the installation, successfully raising young each year. Osprey may be easily observed feeding, nesting and caring for their young from the foot trail off Lake Street and from the accessible observation platform off Giddings Road.

Wickham Marsh Wildlife Management Area consists of 17 different ecological communities ranging from emergent marsh to northern hardwoods. This variety in habitat allows the area to support diverse fish and wildlife populations. The DEC employs various management techniques within some of these different habitats to improve breeding and feeding conditions for numerous wildlife species.

One of the ecological communities present at the management area are pitch pine-oak forests. The DEC thins the oak from these areas to keep the forest canopy open. As a result of this timber management, there is an increase in the production of acorns - a food utilized by a variety of wildlife species ranging from birds, such as turkeys, wood ducks, and ruffed grouse to mammals, such as squirrels, deer, and bear.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

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

Gas, food and supplies, dining, and lodging are available in the nearby communities Keeseville, Peru, and Plattsburgh.

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.