Department of Environmental Conservation

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Black Pond Wildlife Management Area

Black Pond WMA locator map


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Sand Dunes at Black Pond WMA

Black Pond Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Black Pond WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a 526 acre parcel. A natural wetland complex consisting of barrier beach, dune, open water, emergent marsh, and wooded/shrub swamp. Lakeshore barrier beach and wetland complexes such as this are rare in New York State. In recognition of this, the area has been designated as a significant coastal fish and wildlife habitat by the New York Department of State. The WMA was designated a Bird Conservation Area by the state as part of the Eastern Lake Ontario Marshes BCA on August 31, 1998. This WMA has significant breeding and over-wintering habitat for birds and is located along the eastern shoreline of Lake Ontario, a critical migratory corridor. The Black Pond WMA is bordered on the north by Eldorado Shores Nature Preserve which is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Together, the two parcels contain a significant length of natural shoreline which attracts several species of migrating shorebirds during late summer and early fall.

Boardwalk over the dunes going out to Lake Ontario

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping
Black Pond Wildlife Management Area is located in Wildlife Management Unit 6G. White-tailed deer, cottontail rabbit and ruffed grouse are found on the upland portions of the area. Local furbearing species include raccoon, muskrat, beaver and coyote. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)

Black Pond WMA is open to fishing, please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing.

Wildlife Viewing
A viewing platform along the Black Pond trail provides good opportunity to view wetland wildlife, waterfowl and migratory birds. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guides.

a view platform of Black Pond


access for people with disabilities

Black Pond WMA features an accessible .4 mile trail passing through woodland, wetland and dune areas, ending on the Lake Ontario shoreline. The trail also provides opportunities for wildlife observation, a fishing pier and an observation deck.

Full listing of DECs Accessible Recreation Destinations.

Black Pond WMA Brown Sign


From Watertown, take Route 3 south. Shortly after crossing the Ellisburg town line, make a right onto Bolton Road and continue to the end of the road. Be sure to park in designated parking lots.

looking west from the kiosk

All Google links leave DEC's website.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Black Pond WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Landing of boats or hunting on the barrier beach
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Picnicking
  • 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). 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.

wildlife restoration logo

How We Manage

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Black Pond 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.

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.