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Margaret Burke Wildlife Management Area

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Unmarked path through the woods at Margaret Brooke WMA

Margaret Burke Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Margaret Burke WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA consists of 245 acres of mostly upland habitat in Albany County and is bisected by Pleasant Valley Road. The land was donated to DEC in 1958. The site is on the Helderberg Escarpment and exhibits karst geology, with very thin soils and numerous rock outcrops displaying interesting cracks and fissures. Margaret Burke WMA is included within the Helderberg Bird Conservation Area, providing a variety of bird species to enjoy, including American woodcock, ruffed grouse, brown thrasher, eastern towhee, and several forest warblers and other songbirds. Numerous habitat types can be found on the WMA on both sides of Pleasant Valley Road. Habitat east of the road consists primarily of mature mixed forest. Habitat west of the road is the former property of Burke farms and contains fields, shrubby areas, orchards, conifer plantations, and natural woodlands. One small area of shrub wetland exists along the western edge of the property. The variety of habitats offers ample opportunities to see a diversity of wildlife.

Featured Activities

Successful hunters at M. Burke WMA

Hunting and Trapping
Margaret Burke Wildlife Management Area is located in Wildlife Management Unit 4H. This WMA is a designated pheasant release site during the small game hunting season. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)

Wildlife Viewing
Deer, turkeys, black bears, squirrels, and a host of songbirds frequent the area. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guides


Take NYS Route 156 east 2 miles, turn right on County Route 254 (Pleasant Valley Road), go about ½ mile to the state land. A kiosk will be up a driveway on the left. About another half mile down the road is a second entrance on your right. Parking areas can be found on Pleasant Valley Rd. A gas line right-of-way on the east side of the property provides good access to the forested areas.

Margaret Burke Brown Sign

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Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Margaret Burke WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
  • Camping
  • Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property
  • Cutting, removing or damaging living vegetation
  • Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
  • Littering
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property.
  • Storage of personal property
  • The area near the former shale pit is posted against all entry to preclude target shooting at this location.

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

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

Management at Margaret Burke WMA is designed to maintain important forested and early successional habitats so many species can exist on the site. Selected timber harvesting has occurred periodically at this WMA in order to maintain the health of the forest and increase forest stand diversity. Habitat improvements include mowing, and the placement of nesting boxes. In the early 1960s former farm fields were planted with trees and shrubs to increase food and cover for wildlife. Crab apple and apple trees found in upland areas are maintained to provide food for wildlife. Mowing is used annually to maintain fields to enhance habitat for grassland nesting birds and other early successional species. In the near future, it is likely that timber harvests will occur in order to create young forest habitat, which will benefit a variety of species, including deer, grouse and woodcock.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Margaret Burke Wildlife Management Area (PDF) (1.70 MB), approved in December 2016, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the WMA.

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.