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Washington County Grasslands Wildlife Management Area

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Washington County Grasslands WMA Locator Map

The primary purposes of Washington County Grasslands Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA encompasses 286 acres of former agricultural lands. The land for this area was purchased from numerous private individuals in 2012 and 2013, and DEC continues to purchase additional lands and provide the necessary infrastructure for public use.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

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

Short-eared Owl in flight
Short-eared Owl - © Gordon Ellmers

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

Hunting and Trapping

hunting
trapping

Wildlife Management Unit: 5T

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

Wild turkeys, pheasants and deer attract hunters to the area in October and November. DEC releases ring-necked pheasants in the area prior to the hunting season. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Watchable Wildlife

watchable wildlife

Audubon New York has identified a significant part of this area of Washington County farmlands as a New York State Important Bird Area (IBA), specifically for grassland birds, whose numbers are in sharp decline in the country and in New York State. In addition, DEC has identified specific farmland areas (both active and abandoned) in Washington County as critically important to several species of grassland birds.

Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

Wildlife to Watch

Where to Watch

  • Grasslands, open fields
  • Short hiking trail
Washingtong County Grasslands Brown Sign

Directions

The parking area to access the Washington County Grasslands is located on Black House Road in the town of Fort Edward at (43.245806°N, 73.559500°W) - Get Google Map Driving Directions (leaves DEC website).

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 Washington County Grasslands WMA 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.

Boundaries and parking areas are clearly marked and any special regulations are conspicuously posted at access points.

Activity Rules & Regulations

Access and activities on this property may sometimes be restricted in order to protect at-risk species during critical phases of their life cycles. Please look for and respect "restricted area" signs.

DEC sign for Washington County Grasslands

The following activities are not permitted in Washington County Grasslands WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Horseback riding
  • 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 Washington County Grasslands Wildlife Management Area

wildlife restoration logo

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Washington County Grasslands 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.

Washington County Grasslands WMA is managed by DEC for a variety of recreational and scientific purposes, including:

  • Providing habitat for at-risk grassland bird species
  • Researching birds
  • Viewing and photographing wildlife
  • Hunting and trapping
Bobolink resting on plant
Bobolink - © Gordon Ellmers

The primary objective is to provide nesting, feeding, and wintering habitat to a variety of bird species. An informational kiosk at the parking area provides visitors with information on the many species of rare birds found at Washington County Grasslands 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.

birder enjoying the view across an open field
Birder enjoying the view.

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.