French Creek Wildlife Management Area
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- Location: Town of Clayton, Jefferson County
- Dates of Operation: Year-round
- Fee: None
- Contact: DEC Region 6 (Watertown) 315-785-2263
- Maps: French Creek Wildlife Management Area Map in PDF (457KB) || French Creek Wildlife Management Area Map
- Interactive Maps: Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
French Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the French Creek WMA are wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a 2,300 acre parcel. Small game and songbirds are found here in the open meadows and hardwood uplands. Oak and Hickory trees provide nut mast for wildlife to eat. Waterfowl and furbearers also find suitable homes in the cattail marsh which borders the open water of French Creek. Both small rowboats and canoes can be used in the broad channel of the creek. Unpaved roads within the WMA provide good access, but foot travel is the primary means of movement through the area.
Hunting and Trapping
French Creek WMA is located in Wildlife Management Unit 6A. Ring-necked pheasants are stocked in the fall to enhance the upland bird hunting. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)
French Creek WMA is open to fishing, please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing. During the spring the area is also a good bet for angling, especially for bullheads and panfish.
Deer, turkeys, black bears, squirrels, and a host of songbirds frequent the area. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF) (85KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) (240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guides.
Access is best gained four miles from the village on the French Creek Road (off Crystal Springs Road, Co Route 4). The Deferno, House, and Grant roads provide access to the south. French Creek and Bevins roads crosses the southern section with a small parking lot at the bridge on Bevins Road.
All Google links leaves DEC's website.
- Bevin Road - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Commode Road - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Grant Road, pull off - Get Google Map Driving Directions
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Activity Rules & Regulations
- Hunting Regulations
- Trapping Regulations
- Fishing Regulations
- Public Use of Wildlife Management Areas Regulations
The following activities are not permitted in French Creek WMA:
- Using motorized vehicles, including:
- all-terrain vehicles
- Swimming or bathing
- 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
- 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
Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, French Creek 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.
French Creek WMA is open to use under the general state wildlife management area regulations. Habitat management is directed at the upland portions of the WMA which consists of woodlands, early succession growth, and old field/grassland. Management objectives of the WMA include the maintenance of habitat diversity to benefit a wide variety of both game and non-game wildlife species.
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.
- Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce (Leaves DEC Website)