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
This recent snowfall has provided a perfect time to get out on the refuge trails on your snowshoes or cross country skis. Even though it is still mid-winter, there can be much wildlife to observe. The Liberty Loop and Winding Waters Trails still have consistent numbers of wintering birds of prey. You can expect to see Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks and Northern Harriers during the day and Short-eared Owls late in the afternoon or early evening. Foxes and coyotes may be seen if you are lucky. The Timberdoodle Trail will be a much quieter walk in the woods but here you should still see signs of wildlife with the many animal tracks that will be present in fresh snow. The Wood Duck and Dagmar Dale Trails offer a mix of wetland, woodland and open country habitat.
It may be the dead of winter but now is the time for our local Bald Eagles to begin their nesting season. Many have been busy since early in the year either doing housekeeping on an existing nest or starting a new nest. Since 2009, we have had one pair attempt to nest every year and in 2011, there was a second successful nest. The refuge staff monitors any known nest sites but you can help as well. If you are out and about on the refuge and you notice any potential nesting activity, which would most likely be adult eagles carrying sticks to add to or build a new nest we request that you pass your observations to us. Please describe the activity you see and the specific location of the activity. This should be reported to the biology staff at 973-702-7266 ext. 14 for Biological Technician Ken Witkowski or ext. 14 for Wildlife Biologist Marilyn Kitchell. We can also be reached by email at Kenneth_witkowski@fws.gov or Marilyn_kitchell@fws.gov
Most years, we would expect the nest to be occupied by an adult sitting on eggs by the second or third week of February. This could be delayed a couple of weeks if the harsh weather continues. It usually takes 32-34 days for the eggs to hatch and the young eagles will not leave the nest until sometime in July.
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: Feb 14, 2014