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Lakeview WMA Nature Trail

Region 6 Natural Resource Highlight

Lakeview Wildlife Management Area (WMA) has several recreational facilities thanks to a great partnership between DEC, the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), The Nature Conservancy, Seaway Trail Inc., Snow Foundation and artist, Robert MacNamara. DEC and DOT have completed four new parking areas, a small boat/canoe launch site on the South Sandy Creek, a nature trail, wildlife ponds and interpretive signs along the 3,461-acre WMA on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, in the town of Ellisburg, Jefferson County.

Picture of sign and the artist along nature trailDEC's Lakeview WMA is a unique wetland parcel located on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. It contains a 4.5-mile-long natural barrier beach and series of sand dunes that shelter the area from storms that come off the lake. The wetlands are a mix of open water and dense, water-loving vegetation. Fishing is excellent for warm water fish species such as bass, northern pike and panfish. In the spring and fall, salmon and trout are caught in the North and South Sandy creeks. Additional activities include hunting, trapping, birdwatching, canoeing and hiking.

The project originated in the spring of 1999 when DOT first contacted DEC about work that needed to be done on the bridge over South Sandy Creek as part of Route 3 reconstruction. Ensuing discussions highlighted the need to preserve the area as an eco-resource. The state agencies brought to the project other organizations' resources in order to protect the river shoreline and wetlands; complete the fishing access improvements, a nature trail, an observation deck, and small ponds; and provide historical and nature interpretation by constructing an information kiosk.

The Route 3 reconstruction project included:

  • A reconstructed parking lot on the South Sandy Creek
  • An approximately 3,800-foot-long nature trail originating at the parking lot and ending at a observation platform overlooking the marsh
  • Two information kiosks set in a brick paver plaza, planted with trees and ornamental grasses
  • Picnic tables are provided in the trail head area and adjacent to the boat launch
  • Reconstructed small boat and canoe launch
  • Four sets of benches installed along the trail allowing visitors the opportunity to sit near South Sandy Creek or the many grasslands and wooded areas
  • An elevated viewing platform from which visitors may view the sand dunes along Lake Ontario, the varied bird life, and the broad marsh and grassland areas
  • A pond and a vernal pool for wildlife
  • A driveway and parking area at Route 3 over Sandy Creek allowing shore fishermen safe access to that creek, and
  • Two additional parking areas along Route 3 for public access to Lakeview WMA.

The Snow Foundation funded the nature interpretation part of the project. Robert MacNamara did the artwork for the signage. Seaway Trail, Inc. provided an interpretive panel for use in this parking area that illustrates the May 1814 Battle of Sandy Creek and the carrying of the cable route to Sackets Harbor. This South Sandy Creek area was chosen due to its significance during the War of 1812.

The Black Tern and American Bittern are among the many species of birds and other wildlife that nest and feed in the area. The public can walk the many trails on Lakeview or observe nature from a canoe or small boat. The natural beach is very popular for visitors.

Everyone is requested to stay off the sand dunes, which can be damaged by foot traffic. Special dune crossover structures have been made to allow people to cross the dunes without impact.

For more information contact: NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 317 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601, Phone 315-785-2263.


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    317 Washington St
    Watertown, NY 13601
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