WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Regulations have been changed at Wildlife Management Areas run by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

These changes were announced by DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos on November 3 as he claimed the adopted regulations will “improve conservation and safeguard sustained public use” as visitor traffic has increased in recent years.

“Visitor use and enjoyment of DEC’s wildlife management areas across the state have increased significantly over the years,” Commissioner Seggos said in a press release. “To protect these special places for future generations and sustainably welcome visitors, DEC is updating our rules to ensure the WMA system continues to meet the primary goals of conserving wildlife and providing opportunities to safely hunt, trap, and appreciate wildlife.”

According to the DEC, newly adopted regulations mainly include provisions to restrict some recreational activities. The new regulations:

  • Restrict the use of motor vehicles and some motorized equipment such as chainsaws
  • Require a minimum of three inches of snow or ice for the use of snowmobiles
  • Prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species
  • Restrict the discharge of firearms other than for hunting or trapping
  • Restrict the use of boats to electric or non-powered boats
  • Require that dogs be kept on a leash and under control unless legally being used for hunting.

The Department will begin enforcing these regulations on January 1, 2022. They will be effective at all of the DEC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife’s 125 Wildlife Management Areas and several Unique and Multiple Use Areas across the state.