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Service responds to wildlife decline with proposal to conserve land in Dutchess County

January 19, 2016

In response to decreasing wildlife populations, conservationists have called for more protected and managed shrublands. To address this, the Service has worked with partners to propose the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. A draft plan is available for review and comment through March 4, 2016. If it is approved, the Service would work strictly with willing sellers as funding is available.

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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

  • Wintering Raptors

    Wintering Raptors

    The Shawangunk Grasslands NWR is one of the most reliable locations for wintering raptors in southern New York. On any given day you can expect to see hunting Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, Rough-legged Hawks and Short-eared Owls. A good time to visit is later in the day towards evening. Owls may be active during the day at times but towards dusk is the most consistent time. Northern Harriers are also still hunting at this time and it can be very entertaining watching the two species interact. Because this is such a reliable location, NY Department of Environmental Conservation biologists conduct annual research projects on the refuge. This includes attempting to capture owls to affix a radio transmitter to them. We know that they use the refuge but by tracking the owls they can determine how far and where else they are foraging for food off refuge.

  • Hunting on the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge

    Deer Buck

    Starting Friday July 10th, 2015 at 7:00pm, NINE (9) permits will be available for purchase online through Kinsail Corporation on a first-come, first-served basis. We anticipate that these permits will sell out quickly. Please be prepared ahead of time. Have your hunt license number and credit card ready.

  • 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: Feb 09, 2016
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