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For Release: Friday, August 2, 2013

DEC Provides Special Opportunity to Visit Restricted Wetlands

14 Day Window to View Wildlife Management Areas in St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties

The public will have a special opportunity to visit restricted portions of three Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties starting Saturday, Aug. 17 and continuing through Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

"These special areas offer a variety of natural habitats for people to experience and provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities," DEC Regional Wildlife Manager James Farquhar said. "Opening these refuge wetland areas to the public for a limited period gives visitors a chance to connect with nature through hiking, canoeing and bird watching, with minimal impacts on wildlife."

During the 14-day period, Perch River WMA in Jefferson County and Upper and Lower Lakes and Wilson Hill WMAs in St. Lawrence County, including their wetland restricted areas, will be open to visitors. This is the 18th year DEC will open the WMA wetlands for expanded public access. For most of the year, these wetlands are off limits to the public to provide feeding and resting areas for migratory waterfowl.

The restricted wetland areas are also used by a number of New York State's endangered, threatened, and rare species including bald eagles, black terns, and northern harriers (marsh hawks), among others. By late August, the nesting and brooding season is mostly complete and the fall migration period has not yet begun, enabling DEC to allow public access.

Perch River WMA was established in the late 1940s because of its rich and diverse waterfowl populations. It encompasses 7,800 acres in the towns of Brownville, Orleans and Pamelia. It can be accessed from state Route 12, Allen Rd., Buckminster Road, Vaadi Road and Perch Lake Road.

At Perch River WMA, the Perch Lake proper (accessed by Perch Lake Rd.) will only be open from noon until 9 p.m. each day but will also be open to fishing. No motorized boats are allowed.

Upper & Lower Lakes WMA is located about two miles west of the village of Canton along state Route 68 in St. Lawrence County. This WMA, the largest in the Region, is an 8,770-acre upland/wetland complex between the Grasse and Oswegatchie rivers.

Created in the 1950s during the construction of the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, Wilson Hill WMA is located in northern St. Lawrence County, approximately six miles west of the village of Massena off state Route 37. Situated along the St. Lawrence River, the 3,434-acre area consists of several large pools of open water marsh, bordered by a combination of dense cattails, brushy wetlands, forest and upland meadow.

Construction projects are underway at Wilson Hill WMA to improve habitat for both fish and wildlife. Visitors are asked to stay clear of any construction activity.

For additional information, bird lists and maps, contact DEC's Regional Wildlife Office at 315-785-2263 or visit the Region 6 Wildlife Management Area web page.