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Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area

Three Rivers WMA locator map

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100 Acre Marsh
100 Acre Marsh at Three Rivers WMA.

The primary purposes of Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are 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 WMA 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.

This general region was originally heavily forested with mixed hardwoods and conifers, but was cleared for farming beginning in the late 1780s. Farming continued until 1941 when the federal government purchased the property. New York State acquired the land in 1947 as surplus property. Acreage was also added under the Recreational Bond Act in the 1960s and subsequent acquisition efforts.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping

hunting
trapping

Wildlife Management Unit: 7A and 7F

General information on hunting and general information on trapping include how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

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. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

Three River WMA is open to fishing. Eleven species of fish have been identified.

Wildlife

view wildlife here

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

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. Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area was designated as a Bird Conservation Area.

The accessible boardwalk at Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area
Elevated boardwalk to Green Pond observation area.

Accessibility

access

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

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

Directions

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

three river brown sign

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

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

All Google links leave DEC website

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

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 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.

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

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 website).

How We Manage Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area

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, and 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 Three Rivers WMA 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 1940s. 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.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Web links below can provide information about other recreation, attractions, and amenities in this area.

State Lands and Facilities

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.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions, and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories, or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides