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Three Mile Bay Wildlife Management Area

Three Mile Bay WMA locator map

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Three Mile Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Three Mile Bay WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is 3966 acres and is adjacent to Three Mile Bay on Oneida Lake's north shore. It is situated in southern Oswego County, approximately six miles east of the village of Central Square and two miles from NY Route 49. The WMA is generally low and flat with several ridges or island extending across the interior. Elevations vary from 369 to 439 feet with most of the area not exceeding 30 feet above Oneida Lake. The muck-peat and acid sand soils have a strong influence on the vegetation. The majority of the area is swamp hardwood with soft maple (silver, red) predominating; upland portions contain mixed hardwoods such as soft maple, white pine, white cedar, ashes, oaks and hickories. Abandoned farm lands on the swamp border have been encroached upon completely by spirea, high bush cranberry, dogwood, aspen, pin-cherry, birch and other pioneer species.

Hill covered with lush green vegetation at Three Mile Bay WMA

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping
Three Mile Bay WMA is located in Wildlife Management Unit 7F. White-tailed deer, waterfowl and variety of small game species offer ample hunting opportunities (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Three Mile Bay WMA is open to fishing, please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing. A fishing access site on Phillips Point provides fisherman access to Oneida Lake.

Wildlife Viewing
Resident wildlife (especially deer and song birds) and fall migrations of waterfowl offer the bird watcher and/or photographer unlimited opportunities for pursing their hobbies. Waterfowl are the primary wildlife species seen on the WMA. Some waterfowl breed in the area, while migrants utilize Oneida Lake and the Three Mile Bay for resting and feeding during the spring and fall. 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 mile bay brown sign


Exit I-81 at Route 49. Follow Rt. 49 east to Todd Harbor Road. Turn right and parking is on your left. One can also access the WMA by continuing east on t. 49 past Todd Harbor Road and turning right onto Lower Road. Follow Lower Road to West Road and make a sharp right to reach deep into the WMA where there is parking. The 7½ topographic maps covering the area are Cicero and Mallory.

All Google links leave DEC's website.

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations:

The following activities are not permitted at Three Mile Bay WMA:

  • 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's Website). Also, practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC's website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

Wildlife Restoration

How We Manage

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Three Mile Bay WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife 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.

Current objectives for the management area are to provide habitat for the use of a variety of wildlife with the primary emphasis on waterfowl species. Techniques involved include practices such as mowing, prescribed burning, construction of nesting structures, preservation and perpetuation of certain habitats and maintaining a diversity of habitat. Timber stand improvement and harvesting timber are conducted to improve the forestry resource and wildlife values.

A special agreement permits the New York State Department of Health to operate a field laboratory for the purpose of conducting its encephalitis investigations.

The WMA is considered a wetland, but in the 1920s some of the area was cleared and muck farming was begun. These lands were fared up until the 1930s when they were abandoned. These muck field are now covered with water due to beaver activities. Initial acreage for Three Mile Bay WMA was acquired in the 1950s from using Pittman Robertson Funds, with additional acreage acquired under the 1962 Recreational Bond Act. The purpose for the original acquisition was for the ultimate development of waterfowl habitat.

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