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  • 2016 Refuge Deer Hunting Permits

    Beginning Monday, August 1, at 7:00 pm, NINE (9) permits will be available for online purchase on a first-come, first-served basis.

What's Happening

Comment Period Has Closed for Draft Great Thicket Land Protection Plan

April 04, 2016

In response to decreasing wildlife populations, conservationists have called for more protected and managed shrublands. To address this, the Service worked with partners to propose the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. A draft environmental assessment was distributed for public review and comment. The comment period has now closed.

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About the Complex

Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge Complex

This complex also includes Wallkill River and Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuges.

Shawangunk Grasslands is managed as part of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Learn more about the complex 

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

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Important Things to Know

  • Refuge Completes Prescribed Burn for Habitat Management

    Prescribed Burn 2016

    On April 15, USFWS staff and State partners from New York and Pennsylvania gathered to conduct a prescribed burn on 170 acres of grassland habitat. The fire will help to maintain high quality grassland habitat for State-listed species such as the short-eared owl, savannah sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, and horned lark, by encouraging the growth of warm-season grasses and setting back woody species (shrubs and trees) that naturally invade over time. The timing of the burn coincides with the natural emergence of warm-season grasses, which don’t begin to germinate until soil temperatures reach about 52° F. By burning just before these grasses emerge (and after other non-desirable cool-season and woody species have germinated or leafed out), we are able to set back the plant species we don’t want, and simultaneously encourage those that provide better habitat structure for grassland-dependent birds. Regrowth will occur quickly, and the unit is expected to recover in time to provide cover for this summer’s breeding birds. In the meantime, the exposed unit is providing prime hunting habitat for the refuge’s kestrels, harriers and hawks.

  • Plan your visit

    Short-eared Owls

    Shawangunk Grasslands NWR is a natural area without restroom facilities or potable water sources. Please plan accordingly before visiting.

    Information to plan your visit.
  • Things to do

    Trail in Winter

    Shawangunk Grasslands offers a variety of ways to enjoy the refuge including wildlife viewing, photography and hunting.

    Learn about activities on the refuge
Page Photo Credits — Shawangunk Grasslands - Steven Brooks., All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Shawangunk grasslands in winter - Steven Brooks, Winter at Shawangunk - Steven Brooks, Spring meadow - Steven Brooks, Short-eared owl - Ed Frampton
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2016
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