DEC Announces Two New Wildlife Management Areas in Western New York

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DEC Announces Two New Wildlife Management Areas in Western New York

Recent Acquisitions of More than 1,200 Acres Expand and Protect Wildlife Habitat and Provide New Recreational Access in Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the acquisition of more than 1,200 acres in two western New York counties that led to the creation of the new Genesee River and Poverty Hill Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). The parcels in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties will preserve natural habitat essential for wildlife populations and provide new wildlife-related public recreation opportunities such as fishing, hunting, trapping, and wildlife viewing.

"Preserving and protecting our natural resource gems is not only crucial to the future of our planet, it's a boost to tourism, jobs and our local economy," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The Genesee River and Poverty Hill Wildlife Management Areas will preserve natural wildlife areas and provide yet another recreational opportunity for Western New Yorkers to explore the great outdoors."

"DEC is committed to enhancing fish and wildlife habitat and providing quality access for wildlife recreation across New York State and these two wildlife management areas are great additions to State Lands in Western New York," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "We thank the landowners who partnered with DEC to protect these lands for the public's benefit and welcome everyone to explore and appreciate the new Genesee River and Poverty Hill WMAs."

Located along the Genesee River's west bank in the town of Willing, Allegany County, the Genesee River WMA consists of 310 acres of mature forest, ridges, brushland, wetlands, and open fields. Genesee River WMA can be accessed on Route 29 at Yorks Corners bridge and along the west side of River Road in Allegany County.

Poverty Hill WMA is located in the towns of Mansfield and Ellicottville in Cattaraugus County. The broad, 950-acre landscape contains mature forest, wetlands, brushlands, and open fields. Poverty Hill WMA is accessible from the north side of Cattaraugus County Route 13 and Poverty Hill Road, south of Hinman Hollow Road.

The diverse natural habitat in the Genesee River and Poverty Hill WMAs will support a significant variety of wildlife species including wild turkey, ruffed grouse, woodcock, white-tailed deer, black bear, beaver, muskrat, raccoon, fisher, red and gray fox, wood ducks, and mallards. Both areas will also protect natural habitats that provide critical resting and feeding areas for migratory waterfowl and songbirds, and other wildlife including rare, threatened, or endangered species.

DEC purchased the properties for $2.12 million using federal funding from the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program and the State's Environmental Protection Fund. The state will actively manage the two WMAs to provide and protect quality wildlife habitat, foster wildlife reproduction and survival, and promote wildlife-dependent public recreation. In addition, non-wildlife dependent recreational activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and canoeing will be permitted provided these activities do not impede or interfere with the primary wildlife management and public use goals of the area.

"We're excited to partner with DEC to expand New York State's system of Wildlife Management Areas for the conservation of wildlife and their habitats and to provide the public access for wildlife-dependent recreation," said Colleen Sculley, Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program for the North Atlantic - Appalachian Region. "Through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, State wildlife agencies are able to purchase land and conserve fish and wildlife species and provide public access using funds collected under the Pittman-Robertson Act. Since 1937, manufacturers of firearms and ammunition have been paying an excise tax under this Act on the sales of their products, which has provided more than $12 billion to support wildlife conservation in the U.S."

DEC expects to complete construction of parking areas for both WMAs this year. Before visiting Genesee River or Poverty Hill WMAs, visit DEC's website for a list of permitted activities, maps, and other site information.

WMAs are lands owned by New York State under the control and management of DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife. These lands are acquired primarily for wildlife reproduction and survival, as well as to provide wildlife-based recreational opportunities. WMAs provide exceptional areas for the public to interact with a wide variety of wildlife species. There are 125 WMAs across the state, comprising approximately 245,000 acres.

Since the early 1900s, the WMA program established permanent public access to lands in New York State for the conservation and promotion of its fish and wildlife resources. Genesee River and Poverty Hill WMAs will be maintained with federal funding from the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program, set up by the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, which apportions revenues generated from the excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to state wildlife agencies for conservation efforts and hunter education programs.

Grassy field and trees
Genesee River WMA

grassy field with pine trees along the edge of the woods
Poverty Hill WMA

field with tall grass and a line of trees in the background
Poverty Hill WMA