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Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Icon showing two hikers with walking sticks and backpacks hunting trapping fishing hand boat launch view wildlife here accessible parking icon key

Boardwalks to Lake Ontario are temporarily closed until further notice.

Deer Creek Marsh WMA locator map

The primary purposes of Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. Located in the northwest corner of Oswego County along the shore of Lake Ontario, this WMA totals 1,771 acres in size. Deer Creek Marsh WMA is a combination of wetland types that includes open cattails and a bog. The prominent feature is an extensive barrier beach and sand dune system that separates and protects the marshland from the ravages of Lake Ontario. The water elevation in the marsh is determined to a large extent by the level of Lake Ontario and whether the outlet of Deer Creek is plugged by sand or open to flow into Lake Ontario.

Featured Activities


Icon showing two hikers with walking sticks and backpacks

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.

White-tailed deer, waterfowl, and a variety of small game species offer ample hunting and trapping opportunities. 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.

Key species in the area include largemouth bass, northern pike, bullheads, sunfish, and yellow perch. An accessible hand boat launch site offers access to paddle through the meandering Deer Creek for approximately two miles before leading to the Lake Ontario shoreline, where there's a sand dune cross-over structure.


view wildlife here

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

Boardwalk at Deer Creek Marsh WMA
Boardwalk at Deer Creek Marsh WMA

There is a trail to view wildlife which is about one mile along the western side of the WMA that borders Lake Ontario. A kiosk is located at the parking area. This trail provides views of the lake as well as the marsh located behind the dune, and also contains two boardwalks. Wildlife associated with wetlands dominate this area, as well as migratory birds that visit during their spring and fall migrations. Use both the Wildlife Management Area Vertebrate Checklist (PDF) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.

Accessible Features


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

There is an accessible parking area and kiosk, as well as an accessible hand launch located at Route 3, which provides water access for kayakers and canoeists to paddle through the WMA. Note: The accessible feature enabling visitors to haul out and view the Lake Ontario shoreline is currently closed.


Deer Creek Brown Sign

Deer Creek Marsh can be reached by taking the Pulaski exit off of Route 81 and proceeding west on Route 13. Turn right (north) at the intersection of Route 13 and State Route 3 at Port Ontario about three miles west of Pulaski. Proceed north on Route 3; Deer Creek Marsh WMA will be on your left. It can be accessed by Kelly Drive and Rainbow Shores Road.

All Google links leave DEC website.

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations & 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.

View of Deer Creek
View of Deer Creek Marsh

All users of Deer Creek Marsh 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 Deer Creek Marsh WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming or bathing
  • 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 Deer Creek Wildlife Management Area

Wildlife Restoration

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Deer Creek Marsh 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.

Current objectives for the area are to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species and to permit wildlife-related recreational uses compatible with wildlife. Special emphasis is placed on the protection of the fragile barrier beach environment. Interpretive signs and the presence of dune stewards to speak with people using the area are the main focus of public education.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area (PDF), approved in October 2018, 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.