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Plantation Island Wildlife Management Area

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Plantation Island Small Map
Cattails on Plantation Island WMA

Plantation Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Plantation Island WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is approximately 300 acres of Mohawk River floodplain in the Town of German Flats, southeast of the village of Herkimer, in Herkimer County. The Mohawk River is the north perimeter of the island, with the NYS Barge Canal defining the south border. Historically Plantation Island was used for agriculture and canal maintenance. Agriculture activity has long ceased but portions of the island are still managed by Thruway Authority for Barge Canal management and upkeep. The island is a mixture of wetlands (open marsh, wet meadow, and small shallow wetland pools), old pasture and meadow, and floodplain forest. Due to previous significant disturbance, the island has large stands of invasive plant species such as honey-suckle, buckthorn, purple loosestrife, and Phragmites. Since access is limited, the island has little infrastructure.

View of the Mohawk River from Plantation Island

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping
Plantation Island WMA is located in Wildlife Management Unit 6K. The island is used for big game hunting and limited small game hunting. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)

Plantation Island WMA is open to fishing, please visit Dec's website for more information about fishing. Opportunities exist in both the Mohawk River and the Barge Canal.

Wildlife Viewing
The area is available for nature observation and bird watching year round. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF) (85KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) (240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guides.


Plantation Island Brown Sign

Located east of Mohawk, along state Route 5S, in Herkimer County. Travel 3.75 miles on 5S and take a left turn onto Lock Road. Access is across lock gates at end of road. Access to the island is limited with only one dry access across the locks at the Barge Canal Lock 18. The island may also be accessed by boat from either the Barge Canal or the Mohawk River.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Plantation Island WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Camping
  • 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
  • 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.

How We Manage

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Plantation Island 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.

The management plan for the area was written in the 1980's shortly after the island was purchased by DEC and will be updated in the future. Currently, the towpath along the canal has been cleared by members of the Herkimer County Conservation Alliance through an adopt a natural resource agreement, with plans for additional trails marked through the area.

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.