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Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area

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location map for Pharsalia WMA
  • Location: Chenango County; Pharsalia and Otselic
  • Open: Year-round
  • Fee: None
  • Contact: DEC Region 7 (Cortland): 607-753-3095.
  • Maps:

Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area is 4169 acres and is located in the northwest portion of Chenango County, approximately 10 miles southwest of Sherburne. Pharsalia generally has flat or gently sloping terrain. The flora of the WMA is diverse and includes such species as beech, maple, hemlock, aspen, cherry, birch and conifer plantations, plus numerous shrub species.

a field in front of wooded area in Pharsalia WMA

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New York Route 23 borders part of the west and south sides of the area and provides access to a system of town and maintenance roads traversing the WMA. Head west out of Norwich on Route 23 to the town of Pharsalia. The WMA is on your right.

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations:

Pharsalia WMA sign

Outdoor Safety Tips:

How We Manage Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Pharsalia 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.

Current management is directed towards enhancing habitat for a variety of wildlife species with emphasis on big and small game such as deer, turkey and ruffed grouse. A variety of techniques are used to provide the food, cover and shelter requirements for upland and wetland wildlife species. Preservation and perpetuation of certain habitats by mowing, marsh pond construction, erection of nesting structures and forest management through wood product sales are a few of the management activities.


From the days of the first settlers in the late 1800's the Pharsalia region was farmed. However, poor soils, harsh climate and economic conditions forced the abandonment of the farmlands after 1900. In 1926 Pharsalia became the first State Game Refuge purchased with Conservation Fund monies. The first game habitat survey in New York State was made on the area in 1926. Thousands of trees and shrubs were planted for reforestation and wildlife purposes. Early research and habitat improvements for ruffed grouse were accomplished here, and for a time (1933-1937) pheasants were reared at Pharsalia and released throughout the Chenango County area. A 200 man Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp accomplished much of the work and also constructed several small ponds for waterfowl use. Two large marsh ponds (Jackson and Bear Wallow) were constructed in the early 1950's. From the 1940's through the mid 1970's local and national hunting dog trials were held at Pharsalia each fall.

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    Cortland, NY 13045
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