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Perch River

Special opportunity to visit restricted portion of this Wildlife Management Area. Open to the public from Aug. 16 to 29, 2014. See Press Release Announcement.

Wildlife Management Area Overview

New vegetation in the stone mills pool

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This 7862-acre WMA is located in central Jefferson County five miles northwest of the City of Watertown. State Route #12 runs through the lower third of the Perch River marsh and has a parking area. The primary access points for recreationists are along the Vaadi, Dog Hill, and Allen roads (see map for additional access).

Perch River is dominated by its wetland and open water habitats but also offers woodland, early succession, and grassland habitats. The area is well known for its waterfowl and furbearer populations and also supports deer, upland small game, and variety of unique non-game species. The grasslands are mowed periodically in late summer to inhibit brush growth and maintain the diversity of habitat that make Perch River so attractive to wildlife. Water levels in the impoundments are managed to provide stable open water and emergent marsh habitat for the waterfowl and other water-dependent bird and furbearer species found on the area.

What to do at Perch River WMA

Perch River WMA is divided into three zones: refuge, restricted use, and public use. With the exception of an annual open house, where the entire WMA is open to the public for 2 weeks in late August, there is no public access allowed in the refuge areas. In the Restricted Area, there is no public access during most of the spring and summer, but controlled hunting and trapping are allowed during the fall and winter. Hunters must register to enter the area on each day they hunt. Trapping is by seasonal permit. The public use zone is open year round. Rules and regulations are posted at the headquarters.

Perch River WMA is renowned for both it's excellent waterfowl hunting and observation opportunities. A wide variety of waterfowl species and other water bird species can be found on the area during the spring and fall migrations. The observation tower and Mosentine overlook along Vaadi Road, and the overlook parking area on the Allen Road, provide good observation points for birdwatchers. Deer and small game hunting is are popular. Woodcock and ruffed grouse, along with the pheasants that are stocked during the fall and turkeys, provide diverse opportunities for upland bird hunting. Cottontail rabbits and grey squirrels are also common.

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 portions of the Upper and Lower Lakes WMA. For a complete list of prohibited actions please see Title 6, NYCRR, Part 54 (link leaves DEC website.)

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 Perch River WMA
Available Not Available
Upland Hiking Trails*
Wetland Nature Trails*
Boat Access Accessible features for people with disabilities
Parking Lot Picnic Areas
Viewing Tower Restrooms
Scenic Vistas Camping
Birdwatching X-Country Skiing
Hunting Snowshoeing
Endangered Species
Unusual Plants

* A nature trail can be used as a hiking trail. In addition to allowing hiking, a nature trail usually has printed information along the trail and often has a printed brochure available.