Saratoga Sand Plains Wildlife Management Area
The Saratoga Sand Plains Wildlife Management Area is a matrix of 700 acres of state lands on several separate parcels in the Towns of Wilton and Northumberland in Saratoga County. The majority of the acreage is in two contiguous parcels - Camp Saratoga and the Old Gick Farm - that lie east of the Northway, west of Route 50 and south of Ballard Road. There are two additional parcels located off nearby Colebrook Road.
Saratoga Sand Plains is associated with the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park Study Area and is located within a state-designated Priority Conservation Area and the state and federally-designated Karner blue butterfly recovery areas. DEC works closely with its partners - Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, The Nature Conservancy, Town of Wilton, Town of Northumberland and Saratoga County - to manage these lands.
Visit the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park web site at www.wiltonpreserve.org
Saratoga Sand Plains currently has many types of recreational activities including: hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, biking, jogging, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, wildlife watching, and geocaching. While DEC seeks to improve or expand recreational opportunities, some activities will continue to be prohibited, such as: dumping garbage, overnight camping, fires, and unauthorized vehicles such as ATV's and snowmobiles.
Rules for Use
Saratoga Sand Plains Wildlife Management Area is open to the public throughout the year. Hunting, fishing and trapping are allowed in season in accordance with the Environmental Conservation Law and regulations on the state lands that make up the Wildlife Management Area and nearby lands owned by Saratoga County.
Hunting is NOT permitted on Nature Conservancy lands or Town of Wilton lands. Note also that weapons and firearms are NOT permitted on Town of Wilton lands.
The following actions are prohibited: dumping garbage, overnight camping, fires, and the use of all motorized vehicles (including ATVs and snowmobiles) and the use of motorized water conveyances.
Please Observe Good Outdoor Manners: If You Carry It In, Carry It Out
Opportunities abound for people to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the biology and ecology of plant and animal species; the functioning of natural communities and ecosystems; and human interaction with, and use of, nature. DEC supports and promotes environmental educational opportunities for school groups, youth groups, and adults.
Habitat and Wildlife
A number of habitats and natural communities are found in the Saratoga Sand Plains, including deep water wetlands, rare pine barren vernal ponds, ephemeral wetlands in open areas, and oak-pine savannah - a natural community consisting of grass and wildflower meadows with scattered oak and pitch pine trees.
In addition to the Karner blue butterfly other species of interest include the state-threatened species frosted elfin butterfly, and Blanding's turtle; the state-designated species of special concern eastern spadefoot toad, spotted turtle, and eastern hognose snake; and the prairie warblers - a designated species of greatest conservation need. Other wildlife species found here include deer, grouse, woodcock, grouse, and songbirds.
DEC goal for managing the Saratoga Sand Plains is to ensure the protection of the unique habitat and wildlife, while providing a variety of recreational opportunities in a manner that ensures public safety.
DEC and its partners seek to restore and manage this unique sand plains ecosystem to recover the federally and state endangered Karner blue butterfly. The sandy soils found in this area are essential to blue lupine - the only plant that the larvae of the butterfly feed on. DEC and its partners have worked to restore habitat for the Karner blue by creating blue lupine meadows.
Saratoga Sand Plains will be managed to provide environmental education and a variety of recreation opportunities.
DEC has begun developing a management plan for the Saratoga Sand Plains Wildlife Management Area that will to ensure the protection of the unique habitat and wildlife, while providing a variety of recreational opportunities in a manner that ensures public safety. The management planning process includes an analysis of the natural features of an area, the ability of the land to accommodate public use and review of current policy and regulation.
The management plan is being developed by an interdisciplinary team of DEC staff, in consultation with the other partners of the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park and with input from the public. The planning process will culminate in a series of management actions to be implemented over a five-year period. Possible impacts from the management plan may include modifications to current recreational practices and minor noise, erosion and visual impacts from tree cutting for habitat improvement.
Public involvement in the development of the management plan is essential to constructing a sound, viable plan, and DEC looks forward to the valuable input from all concerned parties. The public may review documents related to the Saratoga Sand Plains WMA and the management planning process at the DEC Warrensburg Office at 232 Golf Course Road or the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park Office at 80 Scout Road in Wilton.
Any interested individual or organization wanting to be included on a mailing list for information about the development of the management plan or wishing to submit comments is encouraged to contact Wildlife Biologist Melissa Neely by mail at NYSDEC, PO Box 220, Warrensburg, New York 12885; by phone at 518-623-1240; by fax at 518-623-3603.
The preferred method for submitting comments is via e-mail, which may be accomplished by clicking on "e-mail us" in the right column near the top of the page.
Take Exit 16 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87). Turn east on Ballard Road - turn right if coming from the south or turn left if coming from the north. DEC maintain four parking areas associated with the Saratoga Sand Plains WMA/Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park.
- Take Ballard Road east to Edie Road, just past the northbound exit ramps. Turn right onto Edie Road. Take Edie Road south 1.1 miles to Scout Road. Turn left onto Scout Road. Take Scout Road east 0.7 miles to a parking area on the left.
- Take Ballard Road east 0.6 mile to parking area on the right.
- Take Ballard Road east 2.1 miles to State Route 50 (Ballards Corner). Turn right onto State Route 50. Take State Route 50 south 0.75 mile. The parking area is on the right.
- Take Ballard Road east 2.3 miles to Ruggles Road. Turn right onto Ruggles Road. Take Ruggles Road south 1.3 miles and the parking area is on the right.
The Saratoga Sand Plains WMA map shows the location of roads, parking areas and other facilities.