Category Archives: Points of Interest

points of interest, locations and attractions related to the history of the Lake Champlain Valley

Upper Fish Bladder Island – Lake Champlain Islands

Upper Fish Bladder Island – Lake Champlain Islands

 Upper Fishbladder Island

 

Upper Fish Bladder Island is a very small island just east of South Hero, Vermont; it is sometimes connected to Fish Bladder Island  when there are low-water conditions. The wooded, undeveloped island is owned and maintained by the Green Mountain Audubon Society as a bird sanctuary.

 

Upper Fishbladder Island

Upper Fish Bladder serves as an important bird nesting site and staging area for the Herring Gull, Great Blue Heron, and potentially the Common Tern.

 

History:

 

Upper Fish Bladder Island was donated to the Lake Champlain Land Trust by the late Mary Haas-Burak in 2000. The Lake Champlain Land Trust accepted Upper Fish Bladder thanks to the generosity of the landowner.

The Lake Champlain Land Trust later donated three islands, including Upper Fish Bladder Island, to the Green Mountain Audubon Society. This island is now managed by the Green Mountain Audubon Society, with the conservation easement still held by the Land Trust.

Other Articles About Lake Champlain Islands:   List of Lake Champlain's Islands

Fish Bladder Island – Lake Champlain Islands

Fish Bladder Island – Lake Champlain Islands

Fish Bladder Island - Lake Champlain Islands

 

Fish Bladder Island is a privately owned 11.6-Acre Island in Lake Champlain located just minutes off the causeway to the Champlain Islands – just east of South Hero, Vermont and just north of Cedar Island. 

Fish Bladder Island features gently rolling terrain, a beach, and protected coves for docking. The island features a newly constructed residence with boat storage area on the lower level and another two bedroom guest house.

In times of low water Fish Bladder is connected by a sand bridge to Upper Fishbladder Island to the north. Upper Fishbladder is owned and managed by the Green Mountain Audubon Society as a bird sanctuary.

Fish Bladder and Upper Fishbladder Island - Lake Champlain Islands

 

Fishbladder Island - Lake Champlain Islands

History:

In October 2007 a wind-whipped fire destroyed an Adirondack style camp on the island. Firefighters had to be ferried to the island from South Hero, VT to fight the blaze.

 

Video Tour of Fishbladder Island

Other Articles About Lake Champlain Islands:   List of Lake Champlain's Islands

East Bay Wildlife Management Area

East Bay Wildlife Management Area

East Bay Wildlife Management Area

Description

The East Bay Wildlife Management Area encompasses 38 acres in the Washington County town of Whitehall, New York. The WMA is north of the Sciota Road (County Route 10).

East Bay Wildlife Management Area signThe land was purchased from Donald and Ann Touch in 1984 with money from the Environmental Bond Act of 1972. The area, known locally as part of Finch Marsh, lies in a narrow river valley among steep sided hills. A scenic; ledge borders the northern portion of the property. The rest of the marsh to the west and northwest are lands owned by the Nature Conservancy. The neighborhood around the marsh is used for agriculture and rural residential purposes.

Habitats

The majority of the parcel is emergent marsh. Emergent marshes are areas that have approximately six inches of water during the growing season or permanently. The dominant plants are “emergent” species such as cattails, arrowhead, pickerel weed, rush and smartweed to name a few.

The wetland portion of the property has also been designated as a flood hazard zone. Flooding occurs not only during heavy rains and intense spring thaws, but also during periods of prolonged Northerly winds in which the water from Lake Champlain is displaced to the south.

Fish and Wildlife

East Bay Wildlife Management Area muskrat

East Bay WMA muskrat

Emergent marshes are considered the most valuable of our wetland areas and East Bay Wildlife Management Area is no exception. Here, waterfowl can be found in abundance, using the area for resting during the spring and fall migrations and for rearing young ducklings during the summer months. Hunters can find should look for mallards, black duck, teal, merganser and wood ducks. Trappers will find that the high productive quality of the marsh is such that it produces a high population of muskrats. During the winter months, muskrat houses can easily be seen protruding above the ice and snow. These valuable and prolific furbearers also share their wetland home with beaver, mink and otter.

East Bay is home to a diverse fisheries community and a popular fishing hot spot in both the summer and winter months. Fisherman can expect to find bass, crappie, walleye, pike, catfish and panfish in relative abundance. Two hand launches are located a short distance from the parking area off of Sciota Road (County Route 10).

East Bay WMA is an identified Bird Conservation Area (BCA). New York State Bird Conservation Areas are state-owned lands and waters designated to safeguard and enhance populations of birds in New York State. These areas provide important habitats for birds. In spring and summer, many birds rely on these areas for breeding, food, and shelter. Some birds winter at BCA’s, while others use BCA’s as resting and feeding areas during migration. BCA’s are designated as they support one or more of the following: An unusually high diversity of bird species; large concentrations of one or more bird species; endangered, threatened, or rare bird species; or an exceptional or rare bird habitat.
A variety of wildlife can be seen in the area.

Usage

East Bay WMA hardwoods

East Bay WMA hardwoods

The primary purposes of East Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. The WMA is open year-round, but parking lots are not plowed in winter months.

East Bay WMA is managed by DEC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing/photography). Funding to maintain and manage this site is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration or “Pittman-Robertson” Act, which is acquired through excise taxes on sporting arms, ammunition and archery equipment.

Notes

The following activities are not permitted in East Bay WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Camping
  • Kindling fires
  • Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property
  • Overnight storage of boats
  • Cutting, removing or damaging living vegetation
  • Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
  • Littering
  • Storage of personal property
East Bay WMA map

East Bay WMA map
(Click Image to Enlarge)

NOTE: Ticks are active whenever temperatures are above freezing but especially so in the late spring and early fall. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme and several other diseases.

 

 

Directions

From Whitehall, take US Route 4 east for 1 mile. Turn left onto County Route 9A and proceed 1 mile to end. Turn right onto County Route 9 and proceed ½ mile. Turn left on Stalker Rd. and proceed ½ mile to end. Turn right on Sciota Rd. (County Route 10) and proceed for ¼ mile. The WMA and parking area is on the left

 

 

 

Other Articles on Lake Champlain Valley WMA's: .

 

Cloak Island – Lake Champlain Islands

Cloak Island – Lake Champlain Islands

Cloak Island

Cloak Island

Cloak Island is a small island in Grand Isle County, Vermont. Cloak Island is located off the south-east coast of Isle LaMotte, Vermont at latitude: 44°50’7.15″, longitude: -73°19’45.48″. It is near Reynolds Point and The Head on Isle LaMotte. It is about 7 1/2 acres in area.

History:

Cloak Island - Lake Champlain IslandsThere is an interesting legend about how the island got its name. As the story goes, in the 1770’s when Eleanor Fisk, of nearby Isle LaMotte got tired of her husband’s abuse, she hitched up her team of horses and set out across frozen Lake Champlain towards Alburgh, but was never seen again. Later, her red cloak was found along the bushes and rocks of the island, which would forever be known as Cloak Island. 

 

Another variation of the story tells that after Eleanor Fisk went missing, concerned neighbors suspected she had drowned, but wanted proof. They gathered at the lake and dropped her red cloak into the water. According to an old Yankee superstition: to find the missing body of a drowning victim, you must drop a cloak belonging to the missing victim into the water, and it would come to rest over the body. The cloak eventually found its way over to the small island and got tangled on the beach, thus giving Isle LaMotte’s tiny neighbor it’s new name – Cloak Island.

 

Eleanor’s body was never found, and some say her ghost still walks the shores of Cloak Island. A fitting, spooky end to this sad story from America’s colonial era, but hardly the only such ghost story from the area.

 

Other Articles About Lake Champlain Islands:   List of Lake Champlain's Islands

East Creek Wildlife Management Area

East Creek Wildlife Management Area

 

Description

East Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in west-central Vermont is in the towns of Orwell and Benson. The property is along East Creek and is in two separate parcels. The northern parcel is most easily accessed by boat from Lake Champlain via the mouth of East Creek. The southern parcel has a parking area by the dam on Mt. Independence Road in Orwell, and on the Cook Road. A small part of this WMA is preserved as a refuge and is clearly marked and signed. The 419 acres comprising the WMA are owned by the State of Vermont and managed by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

 

History

Mount Independence is just to the west of the mouth of East Creek. There was a companion fort to Fort Ticonderoga here, and the area was strategically important during the American Revolution. The fertile part of the Champlain Valley drained by East Creek has been farmed
since early European settlement. Parcels of land that make up the WMA were acquired from neighboring farmers. The first one-half acre was bought from Wilford Brisson in 1955. The State of Vermont sometimes bought good farmland and then swapped with farmers for wetland parcels.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) owns much of the remaining wetland in the lower reaches of the Creek. Thus, between TNC and State ownership, much of the East Creek wetland complex is conserved.

Funds to buy land for the WMA were provided by the Pittman-Robertson Act, which created a federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition.

 

Habitats

East Creek flows north, draining a low-lying part of the Champlain Valley. Mt Independence borders the west bank of the river mouth. Other small, steep hills separate the river valley from Lake Champlain. During glacial maximums, when Lake Champlain was larger, Mt Independence was sometimes an island, and East Creek a part of the lake.

Wild Rice at East Creek WMA

The parcel along the South Fork of East Creek is a broad-leaf emergent marsh created by three impoundments, with a narrow upland border. The northern parcel nearer the mouth is a natural emergent marsh with water levels that are regulated by Lake Champlain’s level. The area has Vermont’s largest narrow-leafed cattail marsh, with a good deal of wild rice as well.

Some uncommon plants occurring in the East Creek marshlands are lake cress, slender naiad, green dragon, sweet joe-pye weed, false hop sedge and cat-tail sedge.

 

Fish and Wildlife

Water shrew

Beavers, muskrat and otter are found in the wetland; while fox, coyote, mink, white-tailed deer and cottontail rabbit inhabit the nearby upland. Small mammals are abundant, and include wetland species such as the star-nosed mole and water shrew.

This rich wetland supports many birds and a great variety of species.

Common moorhen

There is good birding for wetland species including rails, American and least bitterns, green and great blue herons, common moorhens, ospreys and northern harriers. Canada geese, black and wood ducks, mallards, blue and green-winged teal, and hooded mergansers inhabit the marsh. Marsh wrens, red-winged blackbirds, eastern kingbirds and Baltimore orioles are some of the many songbirds that can be found. Ospreys are beginning to nest by the Creek. Bald eagles can also be seen.

 

The large aquatic salamanders known as mudpuppies may be found in East Creek. Also present are snapping, painted and northern map turtles, bullfrogs, green and pickerel frogs, and

mudpuppy

Mudpuppy

northern water snakes. Near the edges of the wetland, newts, northern two-lined salamanders, milk, smooth green, garter, and brown snakes may be encountered. Eastern rat snakes used to be found here but are now rare.

Lower East Creek has a variety of warm-water fish associated with Lake Champlain. This includes large-mouth bass, northern pike, channel catfish, yellow and white perch, and black crappie. Upper East Creek contains brown bullhead and smaller species such as the golden and black chin shiner have been found.

Remember it is against the law to harass or harm endangered species.

 

Usage

East Creek WMA is open to regulated hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.

Directions

East Creek WMA map
(Click Image to Enlarge)

The northern parcel is most easily accessed by boat from Lake Champlain via the mouth of East Creek. There are two access points to East Creek from Lake Champlain: Buoy 39 Marina, south of East Creek, and Larabee Point Fish and Game access, north of the creek. The marina is privately owned; there is a fee for launching your boat here.

To Buoy 39 Marina: Take Route 22A to Orwell. Follow Route 73 west to the “Y” to Mount Independence Road. Buoy 39 Marina is at the end of Mount Independence Road. From here it’s a 1.25-mile, approximately half-hour paddle north on Lake Champlain to East Creek.

To Larrabee Point Fish and Game access: From Orwell, follow Route 73 west and then north to Hough Crossing. Go about three more miles to just south of the ferry crossing. It’s a one-mile, approximately half-hour paddle south on Lake Champlain to East Creek.

The southern parcel has a parking area by the dam on Mt. Independence Road in Orwell, and  on Cook Road.

 

 


 

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