America the Beautiful Passes Sold Here
Planning a trip? A Federal Parks Pass may save you money. Call 973-702-7266 x 10 for availability.
Refuge Hunt Permits
The process for obtaining a refuge hunt permit has changed. Follow the link and obtain your permit today.
Every Kid in a Park
Free National Park Pass available to all fourth graders.
Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge hosts many free public events throughout the year, including hiking, fishing, bird watching, and kayaking as well as various children’s programs. Check out all of our upcoming events on the events calendar.Events Calendar
About the NWRS
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
Around the Refuge
As part of our annual habitat work plan here at Wallkill River NWR, we manage many acres of old fields that greatly benefit pollinators. On average 50 to 100 acres are mowed on a rotating basis, every 3 to 5 years depending on how overgrown they get. This work takes place in the fall after most plants have gone to seed. Some fields are mowed starting in mid-October but for fields adjacent to the Wallkill River we wait until November because Wood Turtles may still be active in the fields. Once we have had a hard freeze, the turtles are likely to be in their overwintering locations in the river bank and the work can proceed.
This management allows us to maintain early successional habitats with a proliferation of wild flowers and grasses that serve as both nectar sources and host plants for many species of bees and butterflies. These areas also benefit other wildlife such as songbirds, raptors and many mammals. It is not unusual to have a Red-tailed Hawk follow the tractor around as the mowing is in progress and small rodent trails are uncovered. Recently, a coyote was observed hunting an area that had already been mowed as the tractor was still actively mowing the rest of the field.
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.
Page Photo Credits All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted.
Last Updated: Nov 16, 2015