Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area
Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area is located in the northwest portion of Chenango County, approximately 10 miles southwest of Sherburne. 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 4169 acre management area. The 7 ½ minute topographic map covering the area is East Pharsalia.
Topography and Wildlife
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. Wildlife includes the white-tailed deer, turkey and numerous small mammals and song birds. Both cold and warm water fish are present in streams and ponds.
Management of the Unit
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. Management activities are funded with monies derived mainly from hunting license fees and federal taxes on sporting arms and ammunition. 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.
A system of town roads and some maintenance roads provides access during good weather months. Numerous recreational opportunities associated with wildlife exist. Hunting, trapping and fishing are permitted in accordance with statewide regulations. Birding, nature study, hiking, cross country skiing and wildlife observation are also popular activities.
Since Pharsalia is a Wildlife Management Area, activities not compatible with wildlife objectives are prohibited. A few of the prohibited activities include off road vehicular travel (i.e. cars, snowmobiles, motorcycles, all terrain vehicles), swimming and boating with motors.
For More Information Contact:
Regional Wildlife Manager,
1285 Fisher Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045-1090
607-753-3095 ext. 247