One of the best ways to see the Wallkill River NWR is by canoe or kayak. You will experience the great diversity of habitats that makes the refuge unique. Canoeing takes you through beautiful floodplain forests, wet meadows which are maintained by seasonal flooding, and under tall rock cliffs. Water levels in the river fluctuate seasonally. During spring, the wet meadows may be flooded, making the river channel difficult to follow. Conversely, by mid summer, the river may not be passable due to low water levels. Autumn rains generally raise the water level once again. Refuge staff and volunteers are currently working to remove some large snags and fallen trees obstructing access. Check with refuge office regarding current conditions but be prepared to haul your canoe over beaver dams and downed timber. Please use caution when hauling your canoe in or out of the river as steep, slippery banks may occur at the access points.
There are three access points to the Wallkill River on the refuge. Future planning includes a fourth Canoe and Fishing Access point on Scenic Lakes Road in Hardyston, New Jersey.
Self-Guided Paddling Brochure
In addition to self guided kayak and canoeing on the Wallkill River, the Wallkill River NWR is sponsoring Introductory Canoe and Kayak trips to the public. These trips are scheduled from early July through September. The Wallkill River NWR provides trip leaders, canoes or kayaks, paddles and a Personal Flotation Device for each participant. Once the schedule is determined, it will be posted in the Events Calendar section of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge web site. Participants must preregister to attend these refuge sponsored trips.
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The federally threatened bog turtle can be found in wetlands throughout the Wallkill River valley and the Papakating Creek Watershed. Endangered by habitat loss and poaching (the diminutive turtle is favored among illegal pet traders), this turtle is an important focus of the refuge’s conservation work. Due to their listed status, refuge public use areas are located away from sensitive bog turtle habitats.