The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has 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 preserve natural habitat essential for wildlife populations and provide new wildlife-related public recreation such as fishing, hunting, trapping, and wildlife viewing.
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.
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.
Photo of Genesee River WMA provided.