Baxtertown Woods WMA
Baxtertown Woods Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a recently-created WMA in southern Dutchess County. The WMA is the result of the 2011 reclassification of a 250-acre parcel that was acquired by the state in 2005. At that time it was added to the acreage of the Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center property, which is adjacent to the WMA. The area is entirely in the Town of Fishkill and is east of Route 9D and south of Baxtertown Road. The change in classification increases the public's opportunity for recreation on the area, specifically allowing for public hunting and trapping. The public can access the WMA from three small designated parking areas, two on Baxtertown Road and one on Cynwyd Drive.
Hunting on the WMA is restricted by several special area rules. Hunting access is from designated parking areas only. Big game hunting is restricted to bows and crossbows only. Furthermore, rifles are prohibited at the WMA. Area users are reminded that the adjacent Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center remains closed to hunting and trapping.
View or download a map of Baxtertown Woods Wildlife Management Area (PDF) (516 kB).
Habitat / Ecological Communities
Baxtertown Woods WMA is dominated by upland and wetland forest communities. Oak, hickory, and maple species along with eastern red cedar, are dominant in the WMA's upland forests. The WMA's wetlands largely consist of forested swamps with an abundance of red and silver maple, pin oak, and spice bush. A utility right-of way running through the center of the WMA provides some transitional and early successional habitat, dominated by woody shrub species and herbaceous vegetation.
An assortment of wildlife inhabits the WMA including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, cottontail rabbit, gray squirrel, fox, raccoon, opossum, and many bird species. The area's wetlands provide breeding and foraging habitat for wood ducks, amphibians, and other wetland-dependent species.
Many recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife observation, and nature photography are allowed and encouraged at Baxtertown Woods WMA. Parking areas on Baxtertown Road and Cynwyd Drive have been developed to provide access to the area. As previously noted, hunting on the WMA is restricted by several special area rules. Hunting access is from designated parking areas only. Big game hunting is restricted to bows and crossbows only. Furthermore, rifles are prohibited at the WMA. Area users are reminded that the adjacent Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center remains closed to hunting and trapping.
Options for active habitat management at the WMA are limited by lack of access and the significant amount of wetlands on the area. The utility right-of-way through the area is maintained in low-statues vegetation to prevent interference with the utility lines. No additional habitat management is currently planned for the area.
Rules and Regulations
Public use of Baxtertown Woods WMA is governed by 6 NYCRR §51 (Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 11-2101).
The following acts are prohibited:
- Use of motor vehicles except in designated parking areas.
- Parking of motor vehicles beyond the limits of a posted quota or outside the designated parking areas.
- Construction of structures, blinds, platforms or stands.
- Cutting, plucking, severing, damaging or removing trees or other vegetation.
- Camping, littering, kindling fires, damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property.
Users of the WMA must comply with all signs posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Signs posted on the WMA's boundary call attention to the area's special hunting restrictions which include: 1) hunting access from designated parking areas only; 2) restriction of big-game hunting to bows and crossbows only; and 3) prohibition of rifles.