Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area

These 8,895 acres in eastern Oswego County were cleared in the mid-1800s and farmed until the 1930s. When the Depression slowed farming in the area, the federal government acquired the land and began replanting the vacant farms with trees and developing the area to support upland game.

This involved adding man-made lakes, including the Mosher, Whitney and Long ponds. Seven waterfowl marshes were developed along with wetland habitat. The area features a public access waterway that includes St. Mary’s Pond and Lake Loraine for canoe, kayak and other non-motorized boat use.

The headwaters of Little Salmon River originate in the Happy Valley area. From there the Salmon flows toward Lake Ontario.

In addition to waterfowl habitat, the area includes forest with northern hardwoods such as sugar maple, beech, yellow birch and softwoods such as hemlock, white pine and spruce. The water features and woods attract wildlife including whitetail deer, hare, squirrel, beaver, muskrat, raccoon, mink, weasel, fisher and porcupine, as well as songbirds, waterfowl and game birds such as grouse, woodcock and wild turkey.

Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area connects with Stone Hill State Forest, adding 866 acres of public recreational woodland adjacent to the area