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Bashakill WMA

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A view across a wetland with open water
The Bashakill WMA contains the largest fresh water wetland
in southeastern New York

The 3,107-acre Bashakill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) contains the largest freshwater wetland in southeastern New York, and is a state designated Bird Conservation Area. Its 1,920-acre wetland is a birdwatcher's dream, drawing birders during the spring warbler migration and spring and fall waterfowl migrations due to the influx of interesting birds. Both bald eagles and osprey are commonly seen from the many easy access points. The forested uplands that surround the wetland provide a peaceful setting where one can enjoy a quiet walk in the woods. There is a substantial chestnut oak forest as well as ponds, fields, marshes and swamps.

Featured Activities


The Bashakill WMA is known for its diverse wildlife. Mammals that can be found include white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrats, otter and many small mammal species. Black bear are sometimes spotted. Hunting requires a NYS hunting license. See more information on hunting licenses, seasons etc.


Fishing is available year-round. The Bashakill contains largemouth bass, chain pickerel, panfish, and bowfin. Anecdotal evidence indicates there may be trout as well. Seasonally, gizzard shad have been found in the Bashakill, schools of them have been observed at this location in the past. The Pine Kill is a quality small wild trout stream and may contribute some early season wild trout (primarily brown trout) to the Basha Kill WMA, where they will survive until the receiving water warms up in the summer. See more information on fishing including licenses, seasons and catch limits.

Historic trail that follows D&H Canal
The trail that follows the historic D&H Canal.

Trapping and waterfowl hunting are allowed at the Bashakill. These activities require a special permit which can be obtained from the Region 3 DEC Office by calling (845) 256-3098. See more information on trapping seasons, regulations, and best management practices.


The Bashakill Wetland is home to over 200 species of birds and is a state designated Bird Conservation Area.The area supports characteristic breeding wetland-dependent species (such as Great Blue Heron, Virginia Rail, Sora and Common Moorhen), abundant waterfowl and several species at risk. The latter include Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, and Red-shouldered Hawk.


15 miles of walking trails and several observation towers enhance the visitor's outdoor experience. One trail follows the historic D&H Canal which borders the Bashakill on the west. On the east side of the marsh, the O & W railroad bed is used as a trail as well.


There are two trailered boat launches and three hand launch sites.

Accessible Features

Accessible fishing platform at the Basherkill
Accessible fishing platform at the Basherkill

The Bashakill Fishing Platform allows casting access right at the water control structure for the "Basha Kill" wetland, where it flows into the Basher Kill (stream). The site has a designated accessible parking space and short access route to the pier.The numerous parking areas and boat launches are easily accessed from many of the roads surrounding the WMA.


The Bashakill WMA is located just east of NYS Route 209 and is bisected by NYS Route 17. It is primarily in the Town of Mamakating in Sullivan County although the southern end extends slightly into the Town of Deerpark, Orange County.Off NY Rte. 209, 5 miles South of US Rte. 17. From Rte. 209, take Otisville Rd. 0.5 miles to the east, turn left and proceed north 0.8 miles on South Rd.

Rules and Regulations

A trail surrounded by fall foliage

Public use of Bashakill WMA is governed by Environmental Conservation Law. See the offsite link at right to the relevant sections of the Environmental Conservation Law for a full description of how the public may use this WMA.

The following is an overview of prohibited activities:

  • Parking of motor vehicles in other than designated parking areas.
  • Use of gasoline powered motors on boats, canoes and other watercraft.
  • Use of motor vehicles except to and from designated parking areas.
  • Overnight mooring or storage of boats, canoes and other watercraft.
  • Launching of watercraft from other than designated launch sites.
  • Promiscuous discharge of firearms.
  • Swimming or bathing.
  • Cutting, plucking, severing, damaging or removing trees or other vegetation.
  • Camping, littering, kindling fires, damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property.

Please comply with all regulatory signs posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

How We Manage the Baskakill WMA

An active public use program is in place at the Bashakill WMA. Elements of the program include:

  • Creation of numerous parking areas and boat launch sites to provide controlled access.
  • Development of wildlife management programs
  • Conducting intensive nest box programs for wood ducks and bluebirds.
  • Ongoing manipulation of the habitats to maintain habitat diversity

Public access and wildlife management programs have been designed to protect and enhance this unique area for future generations. Your compliance with the area's regulations is an important step towards this goal.

Nearby State Lands to Visit

  • The Roosa Gap and Shawangunk Ridge State Forests are a short distance to the north. They feature panoramic views from the ridge trail.
  • The Neversink River Unique area, a short distance to the west, is a steep-sided gorge with ecological significance and great natural beauty. It was designated one of the 75 "Last Great Places" throughout the US by The Nature Conservancy.
  • Stewart State Forest is one of the most popular state forests in the state. Hunters, trappers, hikers, cyclists, cross-country skiers, and horseback riders can enjoy the extensive trails.