Wildlife Areas: Lower Champlain Valley

In the next few weeks, you will see a series of posts about wildlife areas categorized by region. Here is the first:

Buckner Preserve


The Helen W. Buckner preserve located at Bald Mountain in West Haven Vermont houses 11 rare animal species, 18 species of rare plants and 10 distinct plant community types. The preserve encompasses many habitats including floodplains, upland forests, marsh habitat, three miles of undeveloped Lake Champlain shoreline, and wetlands along the Poultney River. Conservation at Buckner Preserve has been very successful and is now host to nesting song birds; specific species include, blue-winged warblers, golden-winged warblers, prairie warblers, and blue-gray gnatcatchers. It is one of the best locations to hear whip-poor-wills in the early morning. The preserve is also home to Vermont’s only lizard, the five-lined skink, as well as black bears, bobcats, coyotes, wild turkeys, porcupines, bald eagles, ospreys, and rabbits.

Hunters use the preserve during the month of May and from October 1 to December 31. If you visit the preserve during hunting season please wear bright clothing. To hunt at this preserve, please be sure to obtain permission.

There are two main trails that lead to overlooks on the bluffs of bald mountain. Tim’s Trail follows the field edge before turning sharply up to the bluffs. The Susan Bacher Memorial Trail begins by an old homestead, and takes you through mixed deciduous forest before connecting with Tim’s Trail on the Bluffs.

Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison, VT

The Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a 2,858-acre tract in the towns of Addison, Panton and Bridport. A public viewing area is located along the south side of Route 17 as well as a small boat access on Route 17 as it crosses the Creek that provides excellent viewing of the fall concentrations of Canada and snow geese. Dead Creek has seven impoundments that create cattail dominated wetlands. Nearly all game species found in Vermont can be seen in Dead Creek WMA. Several species of small mammals occur in the variety of habitat types. Over 200 species of birds have been sighted on Dead Creek WMA. Marsh-dwelling birds such as marsh wrens, soras, common moorhens, pied-billed grebes, American and least bitterns, and black terns may be seen or heard. Great, snowy and cattle egrets have been sighted here. Many species of ducks occur, both during breeding season and migration. Shorebirds stop here during their migration along with other birds include many species of songbirds, woodpeckers and raptors. One may possibly observe the grasshopper sparrow, a State-threatened songbird.

Most of Vermont’s amphibian species can be seen on the WMA, as well as painted and snapping turtles and stinkpots. Garter, milk, brown and northern water snakes are also be found on the WMA.  Carp are numerous and may be seen on the surface during spring spawning. The bridle shiner is an interesting small fish species found in Dead Creek and a rare mussel, the giant floater, is also present.

Dead Creek WMA is open to regulated hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing, except in the refuge. Hunting in the controlled hunting area is by permit only.

Shaw Mountain

Shaw mountain houses many notable species including sessile-leaved boneset, three-lobed violet, and four-leaved milkweed. Spotted salamanders breed in the vernal pools on Shaw Mountain’s limy saddles. Wild turkeys nest and feed throughout the oak-hickory forests and bobcats den among the rocky slopes and ledges. The sparse oak-hickory forests make for a perfect White-tailed deer habitat.

Shaw mountain is a dominant feature in Benson and supports 11 plant ecosystems including a shrub swamp, vernal pools, an oak-hickory forest, and a calcareous outcrop community, in addition to 15 rare plant species. Several of the natural communities found at Shaw Mountain are considered outstanding examples of their type.


Thank you to Charles Harcourt for providing his photography for this series. Follow him on Instagram @charlie_is_outside

**The information in this blog post was found from:



Click to access Dead%20Creek%20WMA.pdf

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