State Opening Restricted Wildlife Management Areas

State Opening Restricted Wildlife Management Areas

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It's serene. Peaceful. And 349 days a year, no one gets to see it.

But Saturday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is opening up two restricted parts of the Perch River Wildlife Management Area to the public.

"They basically pay for these areas and we want them to enjoy what's here," said Irene Mazzocchi, DEC wildlife biologist.

What's there is a diverse array of bird species, including several types of tern, ducks, osprey, and almost 8,000 acres of wetlands and open water.

Every year the restricted areas are opened for a 16 day period.

"Once we feel that the breeding season is complete, then we open the 16 day period so people can utilize the area," said Mazzocchi.

Why the restrictions? Having restricted places, or "refuges," give birds somewhere to go where they can't be hunted.

"When you over pressure water fowl, they'll move. They'll move to where there's less pressure, so you can keep them in the area when you have those refuges," said Jeff Eller, DEC senior fish and wildlife technician.

The only place that's going to be off limits during the 16 day period is a dike near the lower pool. It's going to be under construction.

Perch River is one of three wildlife management areas in the north country that are opening restricted places.

The Wilson Hill and the Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Areas in St. Lawrence County are also making refuge areas public beginning this weekend.

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