Wildlife Viewing Areas
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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area
Our national symbol, the bald eagle, is the star of this wilderness with its mixture of forests,reservoirs and river habitat, where the majestic birds nest and overwinter.
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Iona Island National Estuarine Sanctuary and Research Reserve
Description: Iona Island is one of the largest tidal wetlands along the Hudson, with about 270 acres of freshwater and brackish cattail marshes. The marshes surround a 286-acre bedrock island that formed in the river around 6,000 years ago. In this spectacular setting, the island is nestled between bold promontories with steep wooded slopes that plunge into the river on either side.

Public access is limited to a causeway, which affords great views of the marsh and surrounding highlands. Iona Island served as an ordnance manufacturing and testing area in both world wars but has long since reverted to a natural state. It is now a part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve and has been designated a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat Area, as well as a National Natural Landmark. In addition to tidal wetlands and mudflats, habitats include tidal creeks, rocky outcrops and uplands.

Wildlife to Watch: The 6,000-year-old tidal marsh of 200 acres is home to mute swans, Canada geese, and mallards. Smaller birds include the swamp sparrow, marsh wren, willow flycatcher, yellow throat, and least bittern. Deer are often visible in the marsh and muskrats in the tidal creeks. Estuarine animals include killifish, grass shrimp, barnacles, blue crabs, and fiddler crabs. Young striped bass feed in the marsh creeks. The highlight of a winter visit is seeing bald eagles roosting on the island (best viewing is from the pulloff on Route 6/202 on the opposite side of the river).

Special Tips: Food, water, and toilets are available at nearby Bear Mountain State Park.

On-site viewing is best from the marsh edge along the road and the railroad causeway. The steep sloped knolls and Iona Island east of the railroad are off limits.

Ownership: Palisades Interstate Park Commission 
Size: 556 acres 
Closest Town: Stony Point

ParkingHikingHandicap Accessible

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Iona Island National Estuarine Sanctuary, Photo by Steve Stanne
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Driving Directions:
The causeway is off NYS Rte. 9W, 1.6 miles south of the Bear Mountain traffic circle.

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Iona Island National Estuarine Sanctuary and Research Reserve : Wildlife Viewing Area