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George L. Darey Housatonic Valley WMA

Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) are open to the public for fishing, hunting, trapping, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

Towns: Lee, Lenox, Pittsfield
Acreage: 874
Wildlife Management Zone2,3


The acquisition of this property in the 1960s resulted from cooperation among local conservationists, including George Darey, for whom the WMA is named. The property is comprised of several parcels along the Housatonic floodplain. River oxbows and backwaters are interspersed with seasonally flooded forests, shrub swamps, and open-water marshes. Abandoned agricultural fields and blueberry bushes line the river in many places. The slow-moving current, abundant wildlife, and wide riverbends make this WMA one of the most beautiful paddling locations in the region. Kayaks and canoes can be launched at the Decker Access on the south side of New Lenox Road, as well as several locations along Woodland Road in Lee. The WMA abuts large tracts of other conserved land, including October Mountain State Forest to the east. This biologically rich area has a history that includes severe PCB contamination and has long been a focus of advocates throughout the environmental community.

Location, access, & parking

Dirt parking lots can be found on both sides New Lenox Road in Lenox. Parking can also be found at the end of Underhill Place in Pittsfield and on the side of Roaring Brook/Woodland Road in Lenox and LeeSee WMA map.    

Note: WMAs are intentionally wild, visitors will find natural landscapes rather than maintained trails.

Hunting & fishing opportunities

White-tailed deer, bears, and wild turkeys are present in the swamps and woodlands along the river. Waterfowl* are common throughout. American woodcock and ruffed grouse can be found in the shrublands along the floodplain. MassWildlife maintains open field habitats in areas north and south of New Lenox Road that attract deer and turkeys and provide cover for ring-necked pheasants, which are stocked there each fall.  The Housatonic River and Woods Pond offer excellent warmwater fishing for black crappie, sunfish, pickerel, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. This is a premier location for northern pike fishing in open water and through the ice. Large carp frequent the shallow backwaters in the spring. Brown trout and rainbow trout can be found in the northern part of the WMA. The best way to fish the area is by kayak or canoe, which can be launched from a number of locations along the river. (See consumption advisory.)

Hunting regulations

Freshwater fishing regulations

Wildlife viewing & other features

More than 200 species of birds have been observed in this section of the river valley. Wetland-dependent birds like American bitterns, soras, Virginia rails, and common moorhens have been spotted. Several species of swallows can be seen along the river. Semi-aquatic mammals like beavers and muskrats are common and numerous other bird and mammal species take advantage of the wide floodplain. The many oxbows and mineral-rich seeps support an impressive array of specialized and unusual plants and invertebrates. A paddle at dawn or dusk through this WMA provides a quintessential Berkshire experience.

Get wildlife viewing tips.


A “hunter orange” hat is required wear for hunters during the pheasant season.

Read Wildlife Management Area regulations.

About Wildlife Management Areas

MassWildlife owns and manages over 220,000 acres of land to conserve fish and wildlife habitats and provide access for outdoor recreation. All WMAs are open to hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor recreation activities. Visit the MassWildlife Lands Viewer for an interactive map of MassWildlife properties.

You can support land protection in Massachusetts. Contributions to the Wildlands Fund help pay for the cost of acquiring wildlife habitat. Learn more about the Wildlands Fund

Contact   for George L. Darey Housatonic Valley WMA


88 Old Windsor Road, Dalton, MA 01226

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