History

In the 1960’s substantial acreage was flooded by raising the level of a nineteenth century canal that connected points on the Grasse and Oswegatchie Rivers, thus creating an impoundment designed to enhance waterfowl habitat. Wetlands now constitute approximately half of the 8,782 acres (14 square miles) of Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Indian Creek Nature Center is approximately 320 acres situated on the northwestern side of this WMA, and is under lease from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It is bounded on the north by County Route 14 (CR14) and a section of private land, and on all other sides by state-owned WMA, and is approximately 1.35 miles long and 3,200 feet wide and contains approximately 7.9 miles of trails. Elevation ranges from 308 feet in the southern portion to 350 feet near the road in the northern portion. The DEC maintains water levels at approximately 306.5 feet within the Wildlife Management Area.

North Country Conservation-Education Associates, Inc. grew out of an informal group of persons interested in conservation education who organized and promoted Conservation Field Days for sixth grade students starting in 1965. The Conservation Field Days rapidly grew to the extent that all students in St. Lawrence County were served at one of four different locations on the same day, utilizing many volunteer instructors in a wide variety of conservation and environmental topics.

 

During 1971-1972 various sites throughout the county were reviewed for possible selection as a location for a conservation education center. The Indian Creek site was selected as the first choice and negotiations were initiated with the DEC. On June 6, 1974, an agreement was signed between the two organizations allowing the lease of the property and the establishment of an educational center.

Approximately 300 acres of state land, a portion of Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area, was used to establish and administer an environmental education center (now known as Indian Creek Nature Center). In addition a Memorandum of Understanding in 1975 between DEC and North Country Conservation-Education Associates, Inc. provides an agreement to provide approximately 16 acres adjacent to the southwest corner of the Nature Center for a trail and a wildlife observation platform, including the right to mow and control vegetation where mutually agreeable. No hunting or trapping is permitted within the Nature Center boundaries.

Source: Indian Creek Nature Center Master Plan