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DEC to open some restricted wetlands for two-week period

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Area residents will get a fresh look at three restricted wildlife management areas in Jefferson and St. Lawrence County during a special 14-day period starting Aug. 16.

During the period, the Perch River WMA in Jefferson County and Upper and Lower Lakes and Wilson Hill WMAs in St. Lawrence County, including their wetland areas, will be open for visitors. The areas are usually off-limits in order ot provide feeding and resting areas for migratory waterfowl.

“These special areas offer a variety of natural habitats for people to experience and provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, said Judy Drabicki, DEC Regional Director, in a statement. “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.”

Among the animals that make their home in the restricted wetland are bald eagles, black terns, and northern harriers, also referred to as marsh hawks. The open visitation period happens around the end of the nesting and brooding period, and before the start of the fall migration period.

The 7,800-acre Perch River management area, established in the late 1940s, can be accessed from Route 12, Allen Rd., Buckminster Road, Vaadi Road and Perch Lake Road. Access to the lake will be open from noon until 9 p.m. each of the 14 days. Fishing will be allowed, but no motorized boats, the DEC said.

The 8,770-acre Upper and Lower Lakes area is about two miles west of Canton on Route 68. The 3,434-acre Wilson Hill area is located six miles west of Massena on Route 37. The DEC said it features several large pools of marsh, “bordered by a combination of dense cattails, brushy wetlands, forest and upland meadow.”

More information about the open period, or to find bird lists and maps, contact the department’s regional office at 785-2263 or visit http://wdt.me/eNAgQ9.

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