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Loop the Lake – Murphy's Island Trail Extension

Onondaga County is designing and constructing the next segment of the Loop the Lake Trail. This will be the first segment of the Loop the Lake Trail in the City of Syracuse and connect to the City of Syracuse Creekwalk at its current northern terminus at Onondaga Lake.

Onondaga Lake has been recognized by Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area (IBA) due to its significance to migratory birds during the winter months. The waters at the southern end of the lake do not freeze because of the outfall from the County’s Metro Wastewater Treatment Facility. This provides migratory birds an essential place to forage during the winter months when food sources are scarce.

Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) use this area as a winter roost with groups greater than 40 congregating during the winter months to take advantage of the access to warm water. The attractiveness of this area to migratory birds, especially Bald Eagles, is a testament to the progress that has been made on the cleanup of Onondaga Lake. As a measure to ensure that Bald Eagles are not disturbed during this sensitive period, Onondaga County will restrict access to those trails and assets near the warmer waters on the southern end of the lake.

The United State Fish and Wildlife Service has advised on these protective measures to ensure that there are no violations to applicable laws and guidelines. In addition, no construction or maintenance activities will happen during this period as well to ensure maximum protection for the eagles. We hope that trail users respect eagles and all wildlife near the County and City trails.

All construction activities and use of this Loop the Lake Trail segment are subject to oversight by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law § 11-0535 and the NYSDEC Conservation Plan for Bald Eagles in New York State. Onondaga County is committed to working with these agencies to ensure that the Bald Eagle population on Onondaga Lake is not threatened or harmed.

Loop The Lake


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