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French Creek Wildlife Management Area

French Creek WMA locator map

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Ferns and Lilies

The primary purposes of the French Creek Wildlife Management Area (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.

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

Ring-necked pheasants are stocked in the fall to enhance upland bird hunting. 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.

During the spring, the WMA is also a good bet for angling, especially for bullheads and panfish.

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.

Deer, turkeys, black bears, squirrels, and a host of songbirds frequent the area. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

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Directions

Access is best gained four miles from the village of Clayton by taking Crystal Springs Road (Co Route 4) to French Creek Road. The Deferno, House, and Grant roads provide access to the east. French Creek and Bevins roads cross the southern section, with a small parking lot at the bridge on Bevins Road.

All Google links leave DEC's website.

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 French Creek 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 & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in French Creek WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobile
    • 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).

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How We Manage French Creek Wildlife Management Area

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, 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.

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 consist 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.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

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

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.