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Bashakill WMA

Area Overview

View of the wetland at Bashakill WMA
The Bashakill WMA contains the largest freshwater wetland
in southeastern NY.

The 3,107-acre Bashakill Wildlife Management Area (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. The 1,920-acre Bashakill wetland is a birdwatcher's dream, with easy access points on Haven Road, South Road, and Route 209. The forested uplands that surround the wetland provide a peaceful setting where one can enjoy a quiet walk in the woods.

View or download a map of the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area (PDF) 465 KB

Habitat/Ecological Communities

The Bashakill WMA contains the largest freshwater wetland in southeastern New York. Ponds, marshes, swamps, fields, and forests are also found on the property. There is a substantial chestnut oak forest. Other tree species include red maple, white pine, Scotch pine, aspen, oak, locust and other hardwood trees.


The Bashakill WMA is known for its diverse wildlife. It is a state designated Bird Conservation Area, 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. Mammals that can be found include white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrats, otter and many small mammal species. Black bear are sometimes spotted.


A path along a canal through the woods
The trail that follows the historic D&H canal.

The diversity of habitats and species found in the Bashakill provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, canoeing, wildlife observation and nature photography.

The numerous parking areas and boat launches are easily accessed from many of the roads surrounding the WMA. In addition, 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.

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. Other hunting opportunities require only the appropriate NYS hunting license. No additional permits are required. Fishing is available year-round.

Accessible Features

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 actual water level difference here is approximately 6". The Pine Kill (a quality small wild trout stream) enters via a braided channel both above and below this structure, depending on flow conditions. The Pine Kill 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.

Accessible parking ramp and pier
Accessible fishing platform on the Basherkill

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 site has a designated accessible parking space and short access route to the pier. There is no pit privy at this location.

Full Listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations


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.


An active public use program is in place at the Bashakill. Numerous parking areas and boat launch sites have been created to provide controlled access. In addition, wildlife management programs have also been developed. Intensive nest box programs for wood ducks and bluebirds are being conducted. Habitat manipulation to maintain habitat diversity is also an ongoing project.

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.

Rules and Regulations

A trail surrounded by fall foliage

Public use of Bashakill WMA is governed by 6 NYCRR §51 and §104 (Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 11-2101).
See the offsite links 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.

All persons will comply with all regulatory signs posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation.