Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area
The Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was christened "Three Rivers" because of 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. Interstate 690 and NYS Route 48 provide easy access to the area. To reach Three Rivers WMA take Sixty Road out of the Village of Baldwinsville or Route 690 to Route 48 turning right on Kellogg Road. The 7½ topographic maps covering the area are Baldwinsville and Lysander.
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.
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. Development and management activities are carried out with monies derived mainly from hunting license fees and federal taxes on sporting arms and ammunition.
The woodlands, open area, mowed grassland, brush and wetlands provide diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Some 26 species of mammals, 119 species of birds, 6 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibians and 11 species of fish have been identified within the area. Warranting special mention are the active beaver colonies, great blue heron rookery, local populations of Canada geese, active osprey nests and an occasional nesting pair of bald eagles.
The use of dogs in water and field hunting sports has long been recognized as a good conservation practice. Since 1950, courses for pointing and flushing dogs as well as areas for retrievers have been laid out and maintained. National as well as local events are held each year with dogs, trainers and owners attending from across North America and several foreign nations. Field trial activities are open to the general public.
A network of maintenance and town roads provides easy access throughout the area for hiking, hunting, fishing, trapping, nature study and observation, bicycling, cross country skiing and horseback riding. Since Three Rivers is a wildlife management area, activities not compatible with wildlife objectives are prohibited. A few of the prohibited activities include:
- Off road vehicular travel (i.e. cars, snowmobiles, motorcycles, all terrain vehicles)
- Boating with motors
Scouting, educational and school outings are allowed by permit obtained at the address below. Individual camping is prohibited. 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.
For more information, call or write to:
Regional Wildlife Manager,
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
1285 Fisher Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045
607-753-3095 ext. 247
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.
Full Listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations