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Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area

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Mongaup Valley locator map
eagle-viewing blind
entrance sign

The primary purposes of Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. Our national symbol, the bald eagle, is the star of this wilderness about 75 miles northwest of New York City. This WMA contains 6,313 acres of land owned by the State of New York and 5,542 acres of land on which the State owns conservation easements. Mongaup has been designated a Bird Conservation Area because of its unique combination of habitats important to bird species, including forests, reservoirs and river habitat, where the majestic birds nest and overwinter.

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.



Wildlife Management Unit: 3K

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

White-tailed deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, coyote, fox, porcupine, black bear, and waterfowl are found at the WMA. 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.

The Mongaup River, between and below the reservoirs, is an excellent wild trout fishery. The reservoirs and various other bodies of water on the WMA contain as many as 42 different species of fish including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, panfish, and stocked and wild trout. Consult the freshwater fishing regulations before venturing out.

View across the reservoir to a wooded hillside
View across the reservoir to a wooded hillside.

Watchable Wildlife

watchable wildlife

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

Eagle-viewing blinds are located on Mongaup Falls Reservoir and Rio Reservoir, allowing visitors to watch the eagles without disturbing them. Winter is the best time to watch. Wintering eagles arrive in December with concentrations peaking in January and February. Eagles are most active between 7am to 9am and 4 pm to 5 pm. Scan the tree-tops for eagles perched there or watch the sky. Eagles like heavily wooded areas near water with tall trees for nesting and perching. They eat a large quantity of fish, so check ice flows or river islands for eagles enjoying a meal. Visit the Bald Eagle Viewing page for more helpful tips.

Waterbodies and wetlands add to the diversity of Mongaup's landscape and wildlife. Rare floodplain forest, perched bog, and pitch-pine and oak-hickory woodland habitats are also found at Mongaup, attracting wetland birds and species that prefer sedge meadows. Use the Wildlife Management Area Vertebrate Checklist (PDF) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.

Wildlife to Watch
Where to Watch
  • Two eagle-viewing blinds
  • Forested hills, floodplain forest, perched bog
  • Pitch pine-oak-heath woodland

Boat Launch (ramp)

boat launch

Boat launches are available on Swinging Bridge Reservoir, Mongaup Falls Reservoir, and Rio Reservoir.

Boat Launch (hand)

hand launch

Canoes and rafts can be launched on the Delaware River from an access site on Route 97 just west of the intersection with County Route 31. There is also a hand launch on the southern end of the Rio Reservoir. There are special regulations for the use of Cliff Lake, where fishing is allowed from a boat, but you must carry your boat approximately one mile to the launch point.

Accessible Features


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

There are two accessible eagle viewing blinds, both with accessible parking. The Dr. Ted Kerpez Memorial Eagle Viewing Blind was built to be accessible to all ages and abilities. It provides an ideal location for the public to view wintering eagles in a shelter that minimizes any disturbance to wildlife. The eagle viewing blind is located on Route 43 facing the Mongaup Falls Reservoir. There is a wooded access path to the Plank Road viewing blind.


The WMA is located in southwestern New York approximately 75 miles northwest of New York City. It's bordered by the Delaware River at its southernmost point and surrounded by State Routes 42 to the east, 17B to the north, and to the west by State Route 55 and Sullivan County Routes 32 and 31.

Eagle-viewing Blinds

There are two eagle-viewing blinds on the WMA, both with parking areas. Visitors should view eagles either from their vehicles or the blinds, rather than on foot, to avoid disturbing the eagles.

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 Mongaup Valley 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 acts are not permitted in Mongaup Valley WMA:

  • Parking of motor vehicles in other than designated parking areas or beyond the quotas of the parking areas.
  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Except on Swinging Bridge Reservoir, use of gasoline powered motors on boats, canoes and other watercraft. Electric motors are permitted. There are no restrictions on motors on Swinging Bridge Reservoir
  • Launching of vessels other than from designated launches
  • Overnight mooring or storage of boats
  • Discharging of firearms, except at wildlife which may be legally hunted
  • Cutting, damaging, or removal of any living vegetation or standing dead vegetation
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Setting or maintaining a fire
  • Camping
  • Littering
  • Coming within 200 feet of any dam
  • Entering onto the surface of the water or ice on the Mongaup River or Swinging Bridge, Mongaup Falls, or Rio Reservoirs or entering the upland surrounding those waters as designated by posted signs from December 1st through March 31st

Special Regulations for Cliff Lake:

Cliff Lake, located to the north of Mongaup Falls Reservoir, and the surrounding uplands do not belong to the State of New York but are private property. Fishing easements have been granted that allow access for those fishing on the shore or from a boat. Please follow the regulations below for its use:

  • Pedestrian access to Cliff Lake is permitted from May 1st through November 30th for fishing only.
  • Access to and use of Cliff Lake is prohibited from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise.
  • Vessels may be launched and retrieved only from the designated boat access site. Shoreline fishing is allowed only from the designated boat access site.

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 (leaves DEC website) can be obtained from the NYS Department of Health.

How We Manage Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area

Wildlife Restoration Logo

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Mongaup Valley 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.

The WMA is managed for the protection and conservation of bald eagles and their habitats. Access to many parts of the property is restricted from December 1 through March 31 each year to minimize disturbances to wintering bald eagles. Please be aware of the bright yellow or pink restricted area signs around the reservoirs and water courses and abide by them.

This WMA also contains the Mongaup Valley Bird Conservation Area.

The public access and wildlife management programs are designed to protect and enhance this unique resource for future generations. Your compliance with the area's regulations is an important step toward this goal.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area (PDF), approved in June 2022, 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.

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    New Paltz, NY 12561
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