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Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area

Three Rivers WMA locator map

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Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Three River WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is 3607 acres and was named due to its proximity to the junction of the Seneca and Oneida Rivers which form the Oswego. The area is situated in Onondaga County about 18 miles north of Syracuse between Baldwinsville and Phoenix. Three Rivers WMA is relatively flat and poorly drained. Visitors should not expect to find rugged terrain or rock climbing potential. Users will find fields, woods, ponds and marshes. The woodlands, open area, mowed grassland, brush and wetlands provide diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife species. A network of maintenance and town roads provides easy access throughout the area for various recreational activities identified below.

Three River Geese

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping
Three River WMA is located in Wildlife Management Unit 7A. White-tailed deer, waterfowl and variety of small game species offer ample hunting opportunities. There is a blind located off of Route 229 on Green Pond for duck hunting. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Three River WMA is open to fishing, please visit Dec's website for more information about fishing. There are 11 species of fish have been identified.

Wildlife Viewing
Resident wildlife (especially deer and song birds) and fall migrations of waterfowl offer the bird watcher and/or photographer unlimited opportunities for pursuing their hobbies. The woodlands, open area, mowed grassland, brush and wetlands provide diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife species. There is an elevated boardwalk off of Route 140 which leads to an observation area over Green Pond; see the map for these exact locations. Wildlife associated with wetlands dominate this area, as all species of waterfowl that migrate up and down the Atlantic coast occur here either as a resident species or a visitor during the spring and fall migrations. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guide.

The accessible boardwalk at Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area



There is an accessible parking lot at the end of the administrate road which heads north off of Route 113 (Kellogg Road). The duck blind is located here as well.

Full Listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations

three river brown sign


From I-690. Take State Route 31 east 2.3 miles, through Baldwinsville. Turn left on Phillips St., proceed for 3 miles (Phillips St. becomes Sixty Rd.). The parking area is on the left and the accessible trailhead is at the southern end of the parking area.

From I-481: Take State Route 31 west 4.8 miles. Turn right on Phillips St., proceed for 3 miles (Phillips St. becomes Sixty Rd.). The parking area is on the left and the accessible trailhead is at the southern end of the parking area.

Other parking areas are located on Hencle Blvd and on Smokey Hollow Road.

The 7½ topographic maps covering the area are Baldwinsville and Lysander.

All Google links leave DEC website

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Scouting, educational and school outings are allowed by permit obtained from the Wildlife Office in Cortland. There are several administrative roads on the WMA that may be closed to the vehicles. The public may walk on the roads if the gates are closed, but motorized vehicles are prohibited at all times when the gates are shut and locked.

Activity Rules & Regulations:

The following activities are not permitted at Three Rivers WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • 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's Website). Also, practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC's website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

How We Manage Three Rivers WMA

wildlife restoration

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Three Rivers 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 primary goals and objectives of the Three Rivers Area are to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife and to permit compatible public uses of the land. Considerable management and development work has been carried out since the 1940's. Twenty-nine water units totaling over 250 acres have been constructed. These include potholes and small marshes ranging in size from ½ to 5 acres and one large marsh over 100 acres. Water level manipulation and draw downs are accomplished to encourage certain aquatic vegetation. Over 50,000 evergreens and shrubs have been planted to improve the diversity of habitat and to provide food and cover for wildlife. An annual system of prescribed burning is utilized to keep open fields from reverting to brush and trees.

This general region was originally heavily forested with mixed hardwoods and conifers but was cleared for farming beginning in the late 1780's. Farming continued until 1941 when the federal government purchased the property. New York State acquired the land in 1947 as surplus property. The area consists of 3,607 acres today after acreage was added under the Recreational Bond Act in the 1960's and subsequent acquisition efforts.

Tourism Information for Nearby Attractions, Amenities & Activities