Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area
The Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area is the largest of its kind in New York State, totaling 11,645 acres. It's located 16 miles southwest of Ithaca and one mile northeast of Alpine, astride the Tompkins-Schuyler County line. As part of the Appalachian Highlands, Connecticut Hill lies within a belt of high, rugged land. Since this is one of the highest points in the area, panoramas can be viewed from atop the Hill to the surrounding lowlands. State Route 13 provides access to the area along the eastern side.
The History of Connecticut Hill
The first inhabitants of Connecticut Hill were aboriginal peoples. In the late 1700's these people were driven out by George Washington's troops. After the American Revolution, many soldiers returned to settle and farm. The harsh climate and shallow soils of these higher elevations were not conducive to successful farming and from 1900 on, Connecticut Hill was steadily abandoned. Shortly thereafter, New York State acquired almost 10,000 acres of the Hill for use as a game refuge. Since then, Connecticut Hill has been the site of many experimental programs designed to gain insight into the habits and needs of wildlife species.
Throughout the Area there are numerous streams and ponds. Many of the ponds were built between 1948-50 to attract waterfowl and these water bodies have since become popular with other wildlife. Beaver have added to the impounded area benefiting reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and birds. Connecticut Hill offers a diversity of flora and fauna. The mature or climax forest on the area consists of the American beech, maple and hemlock. Areas of oak and pine are also represented. Open meadows, fields and stands of evergreen are scattered throughout. With so much diversity of habitats, there is also a variety of wildlife. The white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, cottontail rabbit, beaver, mink, muskrat, grey squirrel, eastern coyote, waterfowl and numerous small mammals and songbirds are residents of the Hill.
What to do at Connecticut Hill
Open year round, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area offers a wide variety of outdoor pursuits, including hunting, fishing, trapping, primitive camping, nature study, bird watching, picnicking and cross country skiing. A limited number of permits are issued on a first come first served basis for primitive type camping (no water, sanitation, or garbage facilities) and can be obtained from the address below. As shown on the map, the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail crosses through the management area and a shorter Department of Environmental Conservation Trail weaves through a white pine and hemlock forest
Since Connecticut Hill is a Wildlife Management Area, activities not generally compatible with wildlife are prohibited. A few of the prohibited activities include:
- Off road vehicular travel (i.e. cars, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and all terrain vehicles),
- Boating with motors.
For More Information, Contact:
Regional Wildlife Manager, Region 7
N.Y.S. Dept of Environmental conservation
1285 Fisher Ave.
Cortland, NY 13045
607-753-3095 ext. 247