Overview

Indian Creek Nature Center is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1972 to promote and facilitate environmental education and the year-round appreciation of nature and conservation. It is operated by North Country Conservation-Education Associates, Inc, a section 509(a)(1) organization that relies on memberships, grantors, and donors. As part of its mission the Board of Directors of the Nature Center periodically provide a written Master Plan which identifies both short and long range goals, thereby providing a document to direct the operation and continued development of the Nature Center. The Master Plan, rather than being a strict directive, is flexible enough to accommodate other needs and ideas. 

The goals of North Country Conservation-Education Associates, Inc. are to provide an educational setting and to foster environmental awareness while using adaptive ecosystem management strategies to protect, conserve, and appreciate native fauna and flora. The Nature Center serves St. Lawrence and surrounding counties, providing opportunities for nature study of all kinds.

Description of the Nature Center

Indian Creek Nature Center is located in the town of Canton within St. Lawrence County, New York. 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 350 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 and a section of private land and on all other sides by state-owned WMA (Figure 2) and is approximately 1.35 miles long and 3200 feet wide and contains approximately 7.9 miles of trails. Elevation ranges from 308 feet in the northern portion to 350 feet near the road in the southern portion. The DEC maintains water levels at approximately 306.5 feet within the Wildlife Management Area.

History

Formed as an independent not-for-profit corporation in 1972, the North Country Conservation-Education Associates, Inc. works to promote and provide an accessible setting for nature education and appreciation. This organization grew out of an informal group of persons interested in conservation education which had 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 (Appendix 1). 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 blind, including the right to mow and control vegetation where mutually agreeable (Appendix 2). No hunting is permitted within the Nature Center boundaries.

Contents of this page were taken directly from the Indian Creek Nature Center Master Plan, available in Microsoft Word and Adobe Portable Document Format below.  To download, right-click and choose "Save Link As...".