Fish and Wildlife Management Area
The Catharine Creek Marsh Complex
At the southern end of Seneca Lake, between Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, New York, an unusual natural area has evolved. Sedimentation and manipulation of the lake level has led to the formation of a 1,000 acre marsh complex. The area, named for the local Seneca Indian Queen, Catharine Montour, provides a haven for innumerable wildlife. Once navigable into what is now Montour Falls, the waters of Catharine Creek still feed a remnant section of the Chemung Barge Canal, which runs through the center of the marsh. This canal, critical to local industrial development, connected this portion of southern New York to the entire east coast. The Pennsylvania Railroad, bordering the canal through the marsh, served the area after the canal was closed in 1878. The area is rich with history from the time of the Senecas through the years, when much of the marsh was used for truck crop farming, muskrat farming and eventually reed harvesting.
The abundance of plant life in the marsh provides ideal habitat for a diversity of wildlife from small insects to turtles, muskrats, ducks, beaver, deer, and great blue herons.
Members of the Schuyler County Bird Club have recorded 64 species of birds, and the number of fish species in Catharine Creek is listed at 29. Any local fisherman will quickly vouch for the richness of the waters in and adjacent to the marsh. Catharine Creek is famous for its run of rainbow trout in the spring and hosts thousands of anglers annually.
Recreational opportunity abounds on the Wildlife Management Area with the most popular pursuits being hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, boating, bird watching, and nature study. The area is open year-around for the enjoyment of those who wish to participate in the various outdoor activities. The Barge Canal is used extensively by fishermen and boaters and many people dock their boats at the various marinas along the canal.
A spur of the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail traverses the marsh as it takes the hiker past many of the scenic natural attractions found in the area. Hunting opportunity exists for such popular species as ducks, raccoon, rabbits. pheasant and deer, while trappers may pursue the numerous muskrats as well as other fur-bearers.
Camping is not allowed on the Wildlife Management Area but a number of public campgrounds are located immediately adjacent to the area.
All state owned lands included in the Catharine Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area are identified by public hunting signs.
* A nature trail can be used as a hiking trail, a hiking trail differs from a nature trails in that a nature trail usually has printed information along the trails and often has a brochure