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Swallow Bluffs Wildlife Management Area

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Swallow Bluffs WMA locator map

The primary purposes of Swallow Bluffs Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. The WMA overlooks the great St. Lawrence River, and consists of five separate parcels-approximately 55 acres in total.

DEC acquired this unique property in 2016 through a transfer of jurisdiction from New York Power Authority to preserve the bluffs for nesting Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia) and to provide lasting protection of important muskellunge (or "musky") spawning habitat. Bank Swallows are not rare in New York; however, their nesting habitat is often vulnerable to disturbance during their nesting period. The slowly eroding banks of this WMA provide high quality nesting opportunities for the swallows. Muskellunge are a very important fishery in the St. Lawrence River, but quality spawning habitat is limited and one of the acquired parcels protects a targeted spawning area for musky.

View of Swallow Bluffs from the St. Lawrence River
Swallow Bluffs WMA as viewed from
the St. Lawrence River.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping

hunting
trapping

Wildlife Management Unit: 6A

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

Swallow Bluffs may provide good waterfowl hunting opportunities. The St. Lawrence River is host to several species of ducks and geese during their migration. Furbearers likely to inhabit Swallow Bluffs include muskrat, mink, otter, and raccoon. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Fishing

fishing

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

Wildlife

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General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state. Swallow Bluffs provides a unique opportunity to view a large colony of Bank Swallows, as well as birds associated with grassland and riverine habitats.

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

Directions


Bank Swallows emerging from burrows
along the bluffs.

Swallow Bluffs WMA is located in St. Lawrence County, approximately 7 miles west of the village of Waddington along the St. Lawrence River. Currently, Swallow Bluffs WMA is only accessible from the St. Lawrence River. Coordinates for the 5 separate parcels (from west to east) are as follows (all Google links leave DEC website):

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 Swallow Bluffs 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 Swallow Bluffs WMA:

  • Swimming (no lifeguard on premises)
  • 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
  • Camping
  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles

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 Swallow Bluffs Wildlife Management Area

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Swallow Bluffs is managed by DEC's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources 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.

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the forthcoming Habitat Management Plan for Swallow Bluffs WMA, which is in development.

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.