Department of Environmental Conservation

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Motor Island Wildlife Management Area

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Motor Island Star Map

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Motor Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Motor Island WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This is a 6-acre island located in the Upper Niagara River off of Grand Island. Currently, there is no public access onto the island. It is posted as a restricted area to protect the colonial water birds. The only access to the island is during the waterfowl hunting season by permit only. There are designated waterfowl hunting blind locations along the shoreline for waterfowl hunting. The permit and lottery for blind selection is coordinated by Beaver Island State Park.

Featured Activities

Wildlife Viewing
Deer, turkeys, black bears, squirrels, and a host of songbirds frequent the area. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF) (85 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) (240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guide.

Motor Island Brown Sign


The WMA is an island in the Niagara River and can only be accessed by boat - Get Google Map Driving Directions (Leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Motor Island WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming (no lifeguard on premises) or bathing
  • Camping
  • Kindling fires
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs 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 Website). Also, practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

How We Manage

Wildlife Restoration Logo

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

A principal management objectives and techniques for this WMA is to protect habitat for a unique group of colonial nesting birds. At this time, the Bureau of Wildlife is not conducting any land management activities on the island. However, the New York Power Authority recently completed the Motor Island Shoreline Restoration Habitat Improvement Project. This project is part of the requirements in the power authority's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license and NYS Water Quality Certificate for the Niagara Power Project. This Habitat Improvement Project (HIP) was developed jointly with DEC and involves some invasive species removal and shoreline habitat creation.


The area was purchased in 1998 by the DEC with funding from the 1996 Environmental Quality Bond Act. The area was acquired to protect habitat for a unique group of colonial nesting birds which is part of a large significant coastal habitat critical to the Niagara River Ecosystem.

Tourism Information for Nearby Attractions, Amenities & Activities

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Web links below can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Nearby State Lands

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings. Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (Leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.