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Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area

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onondaga county starred map
  • Location: Onondaga County; Lysander
  • Open: Year-round
  • Fee: None
  • Contact: DEC Region 7 (Cortland) 607-753-3095 ext. 247
  • Maps:

Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area 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 Rivers WMA Observation Area

Featured Activities

  • Hunting & Trapping (Wildlife Management Unit 7A)
    White-tailed deer, waterfowl and variety of small game species offer ample hunting opportunities (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons). There is a blind located off of Route 229 on Green Pond for duck hunting.
  • Fishing
    Fishing is permitted. 11 species of fish have been identified.
    Fishing Information for the area, and fishing access maps are available.
  • 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.
    • Mammals - 26 species of mammals including: white tailed deer, cotton tail rabbit, coyotes, mink, fisher, active beaver colonies, muskrat, squirrel and more.
      Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF) (85 KB) as a wildlife viewing guide.
    • Birds - 119 species of birds have been identified including: duck, Canada geese, a great blue heron rookery, active osprey nests and an occasional nesting pair of bald eagles. wild turkey, woodcock, ruffed grouse, song birds and more.
      Use the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) (240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guide.
  • Hiking/Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing
    There is a trail in the northeastern section of the WMA. The other is in the southwestern section of the WMA. Administrative roads may be closed to vehicles, but one is welcome to hike, snowshoe or cross country ski on them.
  • Paddling and Boating
    There is a hand boat launch off of Route 140 in the northern part of the WMA.
  • Bicycling
    The administrate roads and town roads may be used for bicycling. Further information on bicycling is available (link to biking information

Accessible Features

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.


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., -76.323633

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.:, -76.334668 and on Smokey Hollow Road:, -76.342644.

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

The accessible boardwalk at Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area

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:

Outdoor Safety Tips:

How We Manage Three Rivers WMA

wildlife restoration deer sign

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Three Rivers WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources 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

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