Howland’s Island is a popular destination for visitors to the Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area.
Surrounded by the Seneca River and the Erie Canal, this 3,500 acre island has been under State ownership since 1932.
Today, the Island contains a rich mix of woods, grasslands, agricultural fields and managed marshes. These habitats are on topography that rises from low-lying flood plains to gently rolling drumlins.
Maintenance roads are available as hiking trails to all parts of the Island and permit the birdwatcher, hunter, hiker, biker, angler, horse rider, skier or naturalist to thoroughly enjoy the Island; around each bend in the trail is a new site to behold. Access (non-motorized only) is available from Old Galen Road, off Savannah Spring Lake Road in Savannah, or from Howland’s Island Road in Port Byron. Access by boat is also possible from the Erie Canal.
Visitors to the Island should be able to enjoy many opportunities to experience the wonders of the natural world.
Wildlife Managers at NYS DEC have restored native grasslands on some upland sites. Between the drumlins, about 300 acres of shallow-water impoundments have been constructed and managed for waterfowl. Other marsh wildlife, such as moorhens and the rare pied-billed grebe can be found using these impoundments and the marshes along the Seneca River.
Birders often enjoy hiking the Island for its excellent diversity. Cerulean warblers are one of the over 220 species of birds known from the Island. Marsh hawks and bald eagles are seen seasonally. Second growth hardwoods are the most common habitat type and there’s interesting variety to this cover type, too. Kentucky coffee trees, a rare occurrence in NY, are found on Hickory Hill. The leaves of this member of the Pea Family, which are doubly-compound and contain about 70 leaflets, can be almost 3 feet in length. White-tailed deer, fox and beaver are common mammals. River otter have been seen occasionally. Deer, turkey and waterfowl are popular game animals.