Great Swamp WMA
- Location: Town of Patterson, Putnam County
- Open: Year-round
- Fee: None
- Contact: Region 3 Wildlife Land Management: (845) 256-3047
- Map: View or download a map of the Great Swamp Conservation Lands (PDF) (2 MB) including the Wildlife Management Area.
This 444-acre Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is part of the Great Swamp, a 19.8-mile long, 4,202-acre wetland of state significance and an important stopover for migrating waterfowl. While the state-owned WMA is a small part of the Great Swamp's total wetland acreage, abundant waterfowl can be found there as well as many other wildlife species.
Hunting opportunities at the WMA include native small game species, waterfowl, and white-tailed deer. In addition, DEC stocks pheasants in the upland area off of Cornwall Hill Road.
Furbearer species found in the WMA include Eastern cottontail, gray squirrel, red and gray fox, coyote, beaver, muskrat, mink, and bobcat.
Large numbers of black ducks, mallards, wood ducks, and Canada geese use the Great Swamp during migration. The area also provides significant breeding habitat for wood ducks, mallards, and Canada geese during all times of year except winter, when the East Branch Croton River channel is frozen.
Other common wildlife species in the Great Swamp include game and furbearer species such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, migratory and resident songbirds; and numerous turtle, snake, frog and salamander species. Black bears and moose are occasionally observed there as well.
The Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area is composed of 10 separate parcels ranging from less than one acre to 300 acres in size. The largest parcel is located on Cornwall Hill Road (County Route 64), with parking available on the east side of the road about 1.5 miles south of NYS Route 311. Other large parcels are located on the east side of the East Branch of the Croton River about 0.5 miles south of Route 311 and on the east and west side of NYS Route 22 immediately south of Haviland Hollow Road. Formal access has yet to be developed in these locations.
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
All visitors to the Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area must abide by the rules and restrictions posted on signs and/or kiosks on the property. The following are not permitted in the Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area:
- All-terrain vehicles
- Motor boats
Outdoor Safety Tips
How we manage the Great Swamp WMA
Much of the management that has occurred at the Great Swamp WMA has focused on enhancing wildlife habitat, controlling invasive plant species, and improving the experience of recreational users. Recent management activities include:
- boundary posting;
- construction of a six-car parking area and kiosk off of Cornwall Hill Road;
- demolition of several derelict buildings;
- planting of native tree and shrub species including grey, silky, and red osier dogwood and white spruce;
- reclamation of approximately 10 acres of old field at the WMA through the mechanical removal of autumn olive, a non-native, highly invasive shrub species;
- and planting of native grass species in fields to benefit meadow-dependent wildlife species.
In addition, several volunteer groups and individuals have stewardship (Adopt-a-Natural-Resource) agreements with the Department to collect trash at the WMA parking area, mow the trails at the WMA, place bluebird and wood duck nest boxes at the WMA, and conduct an annual youth pheasant hunting day.
The protection of the Great Swamp WMA is the culmination of a larger regional effort to protect the Great Swamp, a 19.8-mile long, 4,202-acre wetland of state significance with a 62,343-acre watershed stretching from the Town of Dover in Dutchess County south to the Town of Southeast in Putnam County. Several organizations including the Friends of the Great Swamp (FroGS) and The Nature Conservancy, as well as Putnam County and the Town of Patterson, have worked cooperatively with DEC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (through funding from a North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant) to protect the Great Swamp. The Great Swamp WMA is the product of two acquisitions facilitated by the NAWCA grant, one in 2006 and the other in 2010.
Nearby State Lands to Visit
- The Cranberry Mountain WMA is just to the east, on the other side of Route 22.
- The Bog Brook Unique Area is a short drive down Route 22 to the south. Turn right onto Foggintown Rd. to reach the parking area from 22.
- The Nimham Mountain Multiple Use Area in the Town of Kent has an extensive network of trails and roads and is popular with bikers, hikers and horseback riders.
Nearby Attractions and Amenities
The Putnam County Tourism web site has information on lodging, dining, shopping and other attractions and activities