Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Seneca Falls

4.3
#1 of 11 in Wildlife in Finger Lakes
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife preserve operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, encompassing part of the Montezuma Swamp at the north end of Cayuga Lake. The refuge lies between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse, New York (5mi east of Seneca Falls, and 10mi west of Auburn), including parts of Seneca, Cayuga, and Wayne counties. Most of the refuge lies in the Town of Tyre, in the northeast corner of Seneca County.The Montezuma Marshes were designated a National Natural Landmark in May 1973; the citation notes that "A small, 100-acre area within the site is one of the best examples of undisturbed swamp woodlands in New York or New England."The New York Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area borders the national wildlife refuge and protects additional parts of the Montezuma Swamp.A significant spot along the Atlantic Flyway, the Refuge provides crucial habitat for migratory waterfowl and other birds.HistoryThe Finger Lakes Region was formed by the melting glaciers of the last glacial period, over ten thousand years ago. The northern and southern ends of the lakes gradually developed into extensive marshes. First the Algonquin Indians and later the Cayugas of the Iroquois Nation were the earliest known inhabitants to reap the rewards of the bountiful life in the marsh. The name "Montezuma" was first used in 1806 when Dr. Peter Clark named his hilltop home "Montezuma" after the palace of the Aztec Emperor Montezuma in Mexico City. Eventually the Marsh, the Village, and the Refuge all acquired the name.
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Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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  • October 3, 2017
    If you really are interested in nature, then this is the place to visit. As you travel along the New York State Thruway it's very hard to miss the gigantic rendition of the bald eagle that sits by the...  more »
  • October 1, 2017
    Montezuma NWR is a 9,000+ acre site, located somewhat northeast of Seneca Falls. You can see a lot from two observation towers, on foot, and by car. The Visitor Center, with lots of exhibits, is well ...  more »
  • October 1, 2017
    As members of the Nature Conservancy, we noted this place and made it made of our plan to tour wineries. It was the best of the trip and Free! There's a reception area with displays and explanations o...  more »
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  • June 17, 2017
    Montezuma is a wonderful experience. I've known about this place for years and have passed over it many times traveling east on the New York State Thruway. Even though it was out of season (June 11) I was able to take some great photos, two of them are going to be printed for my show in July. Montezuma is easy to find. Stop by the visitor center. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff will answer your questions. Highly recommended.
  • April 27, 2017
    Tune into 1610AM. I got there when it was dark so I couldn't see anything...I'll update my review when I go back. Otherwise it was beautiful!! I'm back! It's even more beautiful in the day time! Unfortunately, the road down to the Eagle was blocked so I couldn't get pictures of that, but everything else was just as I expected it! Tons of birds, turtles and fish. Places to sit and a nice trail as well as photo blinds to get better pictures. You aren't supposed to leave your car except for designated areas. They also have a phone number to call for a guided tour. Scratch not seeing Eagle. They opened the road just before I was leaving. The crown jewel of the entire place, I'm so glad I was able to see it up close. Definitely coming back.
  • May 27, 2017
    Wonderful park located right by the highway. Did not have to pay to visit, the park is one big loop that you can visit in your vehicle, during my visit the loop was under construction so we had to turn around. We were able to experience some great wildlife. Saw many herons, ducks and their little ones, one beaver, frogs, fish and more. Would recommend anyone in the area to stop by for a short visit.
  • July 6, 2017
    Quiet & relaxing. Saw a few birds & geese but nothing unusual. Had always wanted to see & glad I did but wouldn't go back.
  • June 15, 2017
    Absolutely lovely. Public-accessible gravel road that travels through the reserve for pleasant and captivating viewing.

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