Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge, which protects 597 acres in Ulster County, NY, was established in July 1999 to support grassland-dependent migratory birds and wintering raptors. With views of the majestic Shawangunk Ridge, the refuge is among a dwindling number of sites in New York State (one of only two sites in the Hudson Valley) large enough to support the entire assemblage of northeastern grassland birds. The refuge has been identified as a Biodiversity Focus Area and an Important Bird Area (Audubon New York), a designation given only to places that support significant abundance and diversity of birds. Many of the birds found on the refuge are included on lists of endangered, threatened, special concern or priority species, including the Short-eared Owl, Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, Henslow’s Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Horned Lark, and Bobolink.
Shawangunk Grasslands NWR and Great Thicket NWR - Housatonic Unit Draft Big Game Hunt Plan

The Refuge is seeking public review and comment on our proposed hunting plan. The public is invited to review the draft documents for our proposed changes, including the Draft Hunting Plan, Compatibility Determination, and an Environmental Assessment. These documents will be available for no less than a 60-day comment period.

The full draft is available for review at Shawangunk Grasslands NWR/Great Thicket NWR - Housatonic Unit Draft Big Game Hunt Plan

The comment period will stay open through the end of the “2022- 2023 Station-Specific Hunting Regulations” comment period, to be announced in the Federal Register. Comments can be sent via email to HuntFishRuleComments@fws.gov with 'Shawangunk Grasslands NWR or Great Thicket NWR - Housatonic Unit' in the subject line. They may also be mailed to the refuge at 1547 County Rd 565, Sussex, NJ 07461 or by phone at (973) 702-7266.

Visit Us

At Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge, a total of 3.6 miles of trails are available and open to visitors. Two interconnected loop trails wind through the refuge’s open grasslands with impressive views of the Shawangunk Ridge. Two kiosks at the main entrance provide general information and orientation. Five wildlife observation / photography blinds are located along the trails.

  • The refuge and its trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.
  • The public restroom is open but there are no potable water sources. Please plan accordingly.
  • This is a natural area. Pets are not allowed. Beware of poison ivy, ticks, and other biting insects.
  • The trails are unimproved and of minimal difficulty, though they may be seasonally wet. Please stay on maintained trails.
  • All plants and animals, parts thereof, and other objects of nature are protected from disturbance. Collection is prohibited.
  • Observe wildlife from a safe and respectful distance. Binoculars and spotting scopes allow you to view wildlife closely without disturbing them. 
  • Please do not feed wildlife; it may make them unnaturally dependent on humans and more susceptible to disease.

Directions

From Interstate 84 (New York State), take exit #5. Take State Rt. 208 North until you enter Village of Walden. At the stop light, turn right, continuing north on State Rt. 208 to the Hamlet of Wallkill in Ulster County. At the stop sign, turn left on Wallkill Avenue. Travel for 0.2 mile and turn left on Bruyn Turnpike / County Rt. 18 (Post Office on corner). At the stop sign, continue straight on Bruyn Turnpike. Travel for 1.4 miles and turn right on Hoagerburgh Road. Travel for 1.5 miles, passing Blue Chip Farm, and turn right into Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge.

Staff are located at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Sussex, NJ and may be reached by phone from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 973-702-7266. General e-mail inquiries may be directed to scott_lenhart@fws.gov

 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge, which protects 597 acres in Ulster County, NY, was established in July 1999 to support grassland-dependent migratory birds and wintering raptors. With views of the majestic Shawangunk Ridge, the refuge is among a dwindling number of sites in New York State (one of only two sites in the Hudson Valley) large enough to support the entire assemblage of northeastern grassland birds. The refuge has been identified as a Biodiversity Focus Area and an Important Bird Area (Audubon New York), a designation given only to places that support significant abundance and diversity of birds. Many of the birds found on the refuge are included on lists of endangered, threatened, special concern or priority species, including the Short-eared Owl, Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, Henslow’s Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Horned Lark, and Bobolink. 

      What We Do

      Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters managed within the Refuge System, from the purposes for which a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about national wildlife refuge
      is established to the recreational activities offered to the resource management tools used. Using conservation best practices, the Refuge System manages Service lands and waters to help ensure the survival of native wildlife species.   

      Our Organization

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats. We are the only agency in the federal government whose primary responsibility is the conservation and management of these important natural resources for the American public.

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

      Our Species

      Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge was established to support grassland-dependent migratory birds and wintering raptors. The refuge has been identified as a Biodiversity Focus Area and an Important Bird Area (Audubon New York), a designation given only to places that support significant abundance and diversity of birds. Many of the birds found on the refuge are included on lists of endangered, threatened, special concern or priority species, including the Short-eared Owl, Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, Henslow’s Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink.

      Short-eared Owl
      The short-eared owl is an owl of about 0.7 to 0.8 lbs with females slightly larger in size than males. Plumage is brown, buff, white and rust colors. Patches of brown and buff occur mostly on the back side, while the underside is colored more lightly, being mostly white. Females and males have...
      FWS Focus
      American Kestrel
      Upland Sandpiper
      The Upland Sandpiper is a medium-sized shorebird of about 28-32 cm in length. Some distinguishing features of the Upland Sandpiper include its dove-like head, thin neck, long thin legs, camouflage olive-brown coloring, and yellow bill with a black tip. The under parts of the Upland Sandpiper are...
      FWS Focus

      Get Involved

      Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community and fish and wildlife by doing what you love. 
       
      National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of urban and coastal communities to make a lasting difference. 
       
      Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying. 
       
      Volunteers: Gain new experiences and meet new people while helping to advance wildlife conservation. 
       
      Friends: Join neighbors in helping refuges restore habitat and expand access to green space. 
      Landowners: Learn how you can partner with the Fish and Wildlife Service to voluntarily restore land. 

      Local Groups: 
      Find out how communities can work with refuges better for wildlife and people.  
       
      Youth: Explore paid and unpaid opportunities to learn and develop leadership skills.

      Projects and Research

      Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge was established to support grassland-dependent migratory birds and wintering raptors. The refuge has been identified as a Biodiversity Focus Area and an Important Bird Area (Audubon New York), a designation given only to places that support significant abundance and diversity of birds. The grassland ecosystem that supports grassland-dependent migratory birds and wintering raptors is maintained through a variety of means, including the use of prescribed fire, mowing, and invasive flora removal.