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Black Pond

Wildlife Management Area Overview

Sand Dunes at Black Pond WMAView Map || View Map in PDF (417 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

The Black Pond WMA, located in southern Jefferson County, is 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.

Boardwalk over the dunes going out to Lake OntarioThis 526-acre 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.

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.

Accessible Features

Universal symbol of accessible site
looking west from the kiosk

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.

Recreational Opportunities at Black Pond WMA

Black Pond is open to the public year round. Public use of the Black Pond WMA includes wildlife observation, bird watching, hunting, fishing and trapping. A viewing platform along the Black Pond trail provides good opportunity to view wetland wildlife, waterfowl and migratory birds. In addition to wetland bird, waterfowl and shorebird resources/viewing opportunities, 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.

a view of Black Pond

To protect fragile dune habitat, the public is discouraged from venturing off the trail or un-vegetated shoreline in barrier beach portions of the area. Please obey signs posted to protect these sensitive areas.

Restricted Activities

General restrictions on WMA's can be found in the Title 6, NYCRR, Part 51, Section 51.1 through 51.6 (link leaves DEC website.) Additional restrictions are also enforced on Black Pond WMA by posted notice and on the portions designated as natural beach. These special regulations prohibit such actions as swimming, picnicking, landing of boats, fishing or hunting on the barrier beach. For a list of additional prohibited actions please see Title 6, NYCRR, Part 79 (link leaves DEC website.)


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.

For more information, contact:
Regional Wildlife Manager, Region 6
NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
317 Washington St.
Watertown, NY 13601
(315) 785-2263

Facilities and Attractions at Black Pond WMA
Available Not Available
Upland Boat Access
Wetland Picnic Areas
Hiking Trails* Camping
Nature Trails*
Accessible features for people with disabilities
Parking Lot
Viewing Tower
Scenic Vistas
Restrooms (seasonal)
X-Country Skiing
Endangered Species
Unusual Plants

* A nature Trail can be used as a hiking trail.
** Fishing opportunities are possible but seasonally limited by water levels and weed emergence