The Capital District Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located in the towns of Berlin and Stephentown in Rensselaer County, NY. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, if you are craving some Adirondack-like scenery, this 4,000-acre (soon to be 10,000-acre) parcel of woods is the place to go. While touring the many interior access roads (they are not plowed in winter), you may see deer, fisher, or even a moose.
In spring, the many streams, bogs, and wetland pools burst with woodland wildflowers, forest warblers, and pond-breeding amphibians. In the summer, the deep conifer greens mix with lighter hardwood emerald greens in a bridge of leaves that closes over the top of the woodland trails.
Fall is when this WMA really shines, with bursting colors that amaze around every turn. In the winter, the WMA is silent; the higher elevations here typically see snow far earlier and for much longer than the lower elevations around the Albany area.
You can also admire the panoramic vista from 1,750 feet in elevation that looks out across the Cherry Plain towards Butternut Hill, Eagle Rock, and Mt. Greylock. There are seven trails totaling nine miles in length across the entire WMA. If hiking with your dog, remember pets must be leashed on WMAs to protect wildlife, and because there is a healthy population of porcupines in the area.
Recreational opportunities at this WMA include hunting, trapping, fishing, birding, photography, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking. Birders visiting the WMA are likely to enjoy seeing red-shouldered hawk, barred owl, indigo bunting, wood duck, American redstart, ovenbird, black-throated blue warbler, and Connecticut warbler.
You can read more about the Capital District WMA on DEC’s website and in the February/March 2023 issue of The Conservationist (PDF).
Views of the Capital District Wildlife Management Area courtesy DEC.