Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

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Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Location Genesee and Orleans counties, New York, USA
Nearest city Batavia, New York
Coordinates 43°07′00″N 78°21′05″W / 43.116667°N 78.351389°W / 43.116667; -78.351389Coordinates: 43°07′00″N 78°21′05″W / 43.116667°N 78.351389°W / 43.116667; -78.351389
Area 10,828 acres
(43.82 km2)
Established May 19, 1958
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in Genesee and Orleans counties in the western part of New York. The refuge is between the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

Although the refuge headquarters is listed as 1101 Casey Road, Basom, New York 14013, it is located within the town of Alabama. The Orleans County portion of the refuge lies in the town of Shelby.


The refuge was created in 1958 as the Oak Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, but the name soon was changed to the current name because the state of New York maintained and still maintains the similarly named Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area, adjacent to the federal refuge at its eastern boundary. Both areas, along with the Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area, located on the western side of the federal land, are used, not only as stopping points for waterfowl and other migratory birds, but also provide habitats for a variety of other animals. All three areas constitute the Alabama Swamp Complex. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service while Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas are managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


The refuge comprises 10,828 acres (43.82 km2) consisting of several large pools (separated by dikes), swamps, meadows, fields, and woodlands. There are four overlooks, and four trails that are open year round. All areas of the refuge, except the nature trails, overlooks, and fishing areas are closed from March 1 - July 15 to protect nesting birds and other wildlife. Each year at least one of the large pools is drained to allow restoration of the wetland. The refuge has been designated as an important bird area (IBA) because it is a key resting spot for birds when they are migrating.


The western half of the refuge is divided into four large wetlands: Cayuga Pool, Mohawk Pool, Oneida Pool, and Seneca Pool. The Feeder Road, an unpaved north-south road, separates the Seneca and Cayuga pools from the other two. Cayuga Pool off of Route 77, has an observation platform in the parking lot. Kanyoo Trail, located nearby to the east, has two loops (.33 miles and 1-mile (1.6 km) long). Feeder Road (3.5 miles one way) is open to pedestrians year round.

The eastern half of the refuge contains a scattering of smaller pools, many marshy areas, fields, and upland forests. The Swallow Hollow Trail (a 1.3-mile (2.1 km) loop) is located at the eastern edge of the refuge on Knowlesville Road and circles Swallow Hollow Marsh. The Onondaga Trail (1.2 miles one way) is located off Sour Springs Road and passes along the north side of Onondaga Pool into a mature woods.


The wetlands are watered by Oak Orchard Creek.

New York State Route 63 is a north-south highway passing through the center of the refuge.

Permitted activities[edit]

  • Hunting, fishing, and trapping (seasonal)
  • Hiking, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing
  • Nature observation
  • Photography
  • Canoes (unmotorized) may be used on Oak Orchard Creek between Knowlesville Road and NY-63
  • Bicycles (on public roads only)

Prohibited activities[edit]

  • Picnicking and camping
  • Disturbing items of antiquity
  • Swimming, wading, and use of flotation devices
  • Fires
  • Removal of wildlife, including plants
  • Horseback riding and off-road vehicle use
  • Dumping
  • Carrying firearms except during hunting season (with permit)

The Iroquois Job Corps is located in the middle of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge at 11780 Tibbets Road, Medina, New York.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]