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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area
Description: Utica Marsh is a unique urban wetland situated on the edge of the City of Utica, partly in the Town of Marcy, sandwiched between the Mohawk River on the south and the New York State Barge Canal on the north. The mixture of cattail wetlands, wet meadows, open water pools and flooded willows creates a diverse marsh habitat that harbors a tremendous variety of plants and animals, especially birds. You can view many varieties of birds and wetland wildlife while hiking, bicycling or paddling around this very accessible natural oasis.

Wildlife to Watch: White-tailed deer are the largest mammal you’ll see at the marsh. Look for them at sunrise and sundown. Muskrats are the most common aquatic mammal, but you may see mink, gray foxes and raccoons around wetland fringes. More than 160 bird species have been recorded at Utica Marsh. Stately great blue herons are the largest of the wading birds found here, while the endangered least bittern is one of the smallest. Flocks of honking Canada geese announce their comings and goings as they maneuver around in signature “V” formations. Mallards feed on succulent marsh plants as they prepare to nest in spring. Many more waterfowl species move through during the spring and fall migration periods.

Painted and snapping turtles emerge from hibernation in the spring, looking for places to lay their eggs in soft soil along the trails. Look for empty eggshells after the young have hatched, or turtle nests that have been raided by hungry skunks or raccoons. Common garter snakes slither among marsh reeds looking for insects and small animals to fill their bellies.

An early spring visit might reward you with the courtship display of the American woodcock. Expect to hear the familiar conk-a-ree of the red-winged blackbird all along the trail. Other birds commonly seen here include song and swamp sparrows, yellow warblers, yellowthroats, American goldfinches and marsh wrens. Several hawk species, most prominently red-tailed and sharp-shinned, patrol the skies looking for rabbits and other small mammals or birds to feed on. Bald eagles and other raptors are migratory visitors.

Special Tips: The site includes two viewing platforms. Hiking and nature trails take you throughout the marsh. Picnic areas and a bicycle trail are also available. Hikers will find a pavilion and several spots where they can clearly observe the marsh. People also enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing here.

Other Activities: This site is open from sunrise to sunset year-round. Fishing is allowed in season. Trapping is allowed in season with a permit available from DEC’s Utica sub-office.

315-793-2557, 207 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501


Ownership: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation 
Size: 213 
Closest Town: Utica

FishingCross Country SkiingHikingSmall BoatsBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

American Woodcock - Photo by Gerry Lemmo
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
The Barnes Ave. Bridge is permanently closed, and you can no longer access Utica Marsh by vehicle. As of the date that this guide was published, visitors must use the bikeway along the State Barge Canal to access the marsh from either its east or west side. Each route requires that you walk between 1 to 2 miles from where you park.

From the east, access the marsh from the State Department of Transportation parking area off North Genesee St.

From the west, access the marsh from the bikeway parking area along Mohawk St. Call the Utica Office at 315-793-2557 for a more complete explanation of access to the WMA.

Map Link

Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area : Wildlife Viewing Area