Department of Environmental Conservation

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Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Utica Marsh WMA Locator Map

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Group photo of people around the Utica Marsh WMA sign

The primary purposes of Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a unique urban wetland. The mixture of cattail wetlands, wet meadows, open water pools, and flooded willows create a diverse marsh habitat that harbors a tremendous variety of plants and animals, especially birds.

Featured Activities

Hiking

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General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Please stay on the designated trails to protect the diversity and richness of the plant communities found within this area.

Trapping

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Wildlife Management Unit: 6P, 6S

General information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

Utica Marsh WMA is open to trapping. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view trapping seasons).

Fishing

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General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

Anglers can access both the Mohawk River and the Barge Canal.

wildlife viewing platform
Wildlife viewing platform gives a bird's eye view

Wildlife

watchable wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Hiking, bird watching, and nature study are enjoyed by visitors to Utica Marsh. The Utica Marsh Council, Inc. (leaves DEC website) has a field trip guide available on their website which can help any visitor better appreciate the natural features of the area. The local schools make it a field trip destination and local colleges use the diverse plant and animal populations for research projects.

There is new wildlife viewing tower which will provide the public with a bird's eye view of the wildlife abundant at the WMA and encourage residents to explore the outdoors. The tower was built as part of the Governor's Adventure NY Initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature.

watchable wildlife

General information on watchable wildlife includes tips for viewing wildlife and links to other watchable wildlife locations. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF, 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF, 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

Directions

Situated on the border of the City of Utica and the Town of Marcy, and between the Mohawk River on the south and the New York State Barge Canal on the north. Currently, access to the area requires a walk along the New York State Canalway Trail of between 1 and 1.5 miles. Visitors can access the scenic Canalway Trail from the parking area located off of North Genesee Street. See map in link above for details. Call the Herkimer Office at 315-866-6330 for additional questions about access or wildlife resources on the WMA.

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Utica Marsh WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Hunting
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Camping
  • Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs, or 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).

How We Manage Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Utica Marsh WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and 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.

In the late 1970s, the City of Utica awarded DEC 50 acres of river flood plain with the condition that the state begin buying additional land here and managing this wetland area. Now the WMA contains 213 acres, an observation tower, a wildlife viewing site, and several hiking trails.

One important partner of Utica Marsh WMA is the Utica Marsh Council, Inc (leaves DEC website). The volunteer members organize a marsh cleanup on the first Saturday in May. This major outreach event to city residents involves them in caring for the marsh. The Council is a big promoter of the Utica Marsh as an educational field laboratory and through their efforts, school and college classes from throughout the Mohawk Valley visit the marsh to learn about wetland ecology. Visit their website to learn more about the marsh.

Other important friends and partners of the Utica Marsh WMA are Former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, Audubon New York, NYS Department of Transportation, Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Utica.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area (PDF, 1.6 MB), approved in February 2017, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the WMA.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

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

State Lands and Facilities

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.

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.