Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Buckhorn Island State Park

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UPDATE May 6, 2021: As part of the Buckhorn Shoreline and Grass Island Habitat Enhancement Project, our contractor is planning to perform trail repairs on the Niagara River shoreline at Buckhorn starting this Friday, 5/9/2021. The Buckhorn Island SP shoreline trail will be closed temporarily during construction, from the trailhead at the eastern park entrance to the pedestrian bridge over Woods Creek. The work is expected to last 1-2 days, and the trail is expected to be re-opened for the weekend, even if work must resume on Monday. The repairs are needed to restore the trail width at two locations on the Niagara River bank east of Woods Creek, where the trail pavement has failed and has been partially washed out by shoreline erosion.

Habitat restoration work will be underway on the Niagara River along the north shore of Buckhorn Island SP through Fall 2021. Generally, trails will be open throughout the Park, as most of the construction will be done from the water using barges. However, please be aware that employees in light vehicles may use the paved bike path east of the I-190 to access the work zone and we urge caution as you pass. In addition, trail signs will be posted near the Grand Island Bridges to direct patrons around the staging area west of the Bridges. All heavy vehicles will directly access the staging area from the NYS Thruway right-of-way on the west side of the I-190.

At the same time, the Grass Island restoration project is underway. Access to the island is prohibited during construction, which is anticipated to be completed by May 15. Once construction at Grass Island is complete, there will be access for boats outside the newly protected area.

Please click here and here for more information on these projects.

Niagara River Restoration Project

FAQ's Niagara River Restoration Project

Restoration Site Locations

Niagara River Restoration Projects

Details | Design

Burnt Ship Creek Habitat Enhancement

West River Shoreline Habitat Restoration

c/o Beaver Island State Park -- 2136 West Oakfield Road
Grand Island, NY 14072
Latitude 43.056377
Longitude -78.983322

Buckhorn Island State Park nature preserve, 895 acres of marsh, meadows and woods and the last vestige of once vast marshlands and meadows that bordered the Niagara River, is classified as a park preserve. The public is welcome to walk the nature trails, hike, bike, kayak, canoe, fish and cross-country ski in the park. Ongoing restoration continues to re-establish wetland cover and water levels and increase the diversity of native flora and fauna. The ongoing restoration plan includes increasing public access with more non-intrusive trails, overlooks and bird watching blinds.

Reminder: There are no restroom facilities available at Buckhorn Island State Park.


NYS DOT Traffic Counts for Grand Island

Pet Policy: A maximum of two pets are allowed in day use areas unless prohibited by sign or directive. Pets are to be supervised at all times and either be crated or on a leash not more than 6-feet in length. Proof of rabies inoculation shall be produced if requested by staff. Pets are not permitted in playgrounds, buildings, golf courses, boardwalks, pools and spray-grounds or guarded beaches (this does not apply to service animals).

Hours of Operation

  • Open daily, year round, from dawn to dusk.

Key BCA Criteria:

- Migratory concentration site

- Waterfowl concentration site

- Diverse species concentration site

- Species at risk site

- Bird research site

The Buckhorn Island BCA is within the Niagara River corridor, and is crossed by a heavily traveled international highway, which makes the marsh one of the state's most visible wetlands and a highly visible site for demonstrating wetland restoration. Its ecological position as one of the two largest remaining marshes on the Niagara River necessitates proper stewardship. The area is a significant concentration area for large numbers and diverse species of gulls. Buckhorn Island will continue to support gull populations, as well as a diverse waterfowl population.

The marsh at Buckhorn provides important nesting habitat for listed species such as Least Bittern, Northern Harrier and Sedge Wren. The marsh serves as a feeding, resting and breeding area for ducks, coots, moorhens, and rails. Common Tern find suitable habitat for foraging here.Listed species include Northern Harrier (threatened), Common Tern (threatened), Sedge Wren (threatened) and Least Bittern (threatened). Additional birds of interest include a variety of species of ducks, herons, coots, moorhens, and rails. Spring and fall migrations along the Niagara River corridor can bring large numbers of gulls (several species) to this site.

Download a copy of the BCA map.

West River Shoreline Trail Waterfowl Hunting Access Information

  • The water fowl season runs from Oct 27 through the end of January.
  • In order to secure a blind along the West River Trail, we hold regular lotteries to assign blinds.
  • We have divided West River Shoreline Trail into seven, color coded zones.
  • Those that secure a spot in any of the West River zones will also be given a vehicle permit—as well as directions on how they can enter and exit their zone. The permit should match the color of the zone.
  • Vehicles will park along off the pathway.
  • All traffic will head south—entering and exiting at set intersections on the trail—there will be no two way traffic.
  • Barricades will be set up at each entrance and exit and hunters will be responsible for moving them.
  • Drivers will be expected to drive with flashers and no faster than 15 miles per hour.
  • Trail users always have the right away

Hunting Access Map

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Amenities Information