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Black Pond Wildlife Management Area

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Black Pond WMA locator map
Sand Dunes at Black Pond WMA
Please refrain from entering dunes.

The primary purposes of Black Pond Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a 526-acre parcel. It is a natural wetland complex consisting of a barrier beach, dune, open water, emergent marsh, and wooded/shrub swamp. Lakeshore barrier beach and wetland complexes such as this are rare in New York State. In recognition of this, the area has been designated as a significant coastal fish and wildlife habitat by the New York Department of State.

The WMA was designated as a Bird Conservation Area by the state as part of the Eastern Lake Ontario Marshes BCA on August 31, 1998. This WMA has significant breeding and over-wintering habitat for birds and is located along the eastern shoreline of Lake Ontario, a critical migratory corridor. The Black Pond WMA is bordered on the north by El Dorado Beach Preserve (leaves DEC website), which is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Together, the two parcels contain a significant length of natural shoreline, which attracts several species of migrating shorebirds during late summer and early fall.

Featured Activities



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

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

Hunting and Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 6G

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

Boardwalk over the dunes going out to Lake Ontario
Boardwalk leading to Lake Ontario.

White-tailed deer, cottontail rabbit, and ruffed grouse are found on the upland portions of the area. Local furbearing species include raccoon, muskrat, beaver, and coyote. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).



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



General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

A viewing platform along the Black Pond trail provides good opportunity to view wetland wildlife, waterfowl and migratory birds. Use the Wildlife Management Area Vertebrate Checklist (PDF) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.

a view platform of Black Pond
Viewing platform along trail.

Accessible Features

access for people with disabilities

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

Black Pond WMA features an accessible path, with opportunities for wildlife observation, that travels though through woodland, wetland, and dune areas. There is an accessible observation platform and a fishing pier.


From Watertown, take Route 3 south. Shortly after crossing the Ellisburg town line, make a right onto Bolton Road and continue to the end of the road. Be sure to park in designated parking lots.

looking west from the kiosk
Accessible 0.4 mile trail.

All Google links leave 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 Black Pond Wildlife Management Area must follow all Wildlife Management Area Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Activity Rules & Regulations

Black Pond WMA Brown Sign

Prohibited activities at Black Pond WMA include:

  • all public access to the dune portion of the barrier beaches, except by permit from DEC;
  • erecting or posting any sign or notice except as permitted by DEC;
  • building, maintaining, or using a fire;
  • using devices to create sound, excluding personal electronics that produce sound audible only to the primary user;
  • erecting or maintaining a camp, tent, or structure of any kind;
  • defacing, disturbing, or damaging any structure, sign, equipment, or other property;
  • removing, injuring or destroying any plants;
  • removing any rocks, minerals, soil, or sand;
  • walking or riding any hoofed animals including, but not limited to horses;
  • use of any off-road vehicle including, but not limited to trail bikes, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and all terrain vehicles;
  • engaging in any activity or behavior which may endanger the safety of persons or property;
  • failure to keep household pets, including but not limited to dogs, caged or leashed (six feet or less) and under control at all times; and
  • possession of alcoholic beverages with intent to consume.

For a complete list of all WMA rules and regulations please see Wildlife Management Area Regulations (PDF) ​and Special Regulations for Black Pond WMA (leaves DEC website).

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 Black Pond Wildlife Management Area

wildlife restoration logo

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Black Pond 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.

Habitat management is directed at the upland portions of the WMA which consist of woodlands, early succession growth, and old field/grassland. Management objectives of the WMA include the maintenance of habitat diversity to benefit a wide variety of both game and non-game wildlife species. View the Habitat Management Plan for Black Pond Wildlife Management Area (PDF), approved in January 2019, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the 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.

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.