FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE07-37
Thursday, November 15, 2007
DEC - Maureen Wren (518) 402-8000
NYC DEP - Michael Saucier (718) 595-6600
State-City Agree To Major Expansion Of Recreational Access To Catskill Watershed Lands
Approximately 11,000 acres of New York City-owned land adjacent to State Forest Preserve land in the Catskills will be open to hiking, hunting, fishing and trapping without the need for a City permit under a cooperative agreement between the City and the State. State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis and City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced that DEC will patrol the City watershed property to enforce regulations, help protect the environment, and further assist in the management of these lands. The change will be in effect for the 2008-2009 hunting season.
"As a long-time angler on streams in the city watershed, I know how important it is to the local tourism economies and the sporting community to have consistent access policies when it comes to city and state lands within the Catskill Park," DEC Commissioner Grannis said. "This agreement is a tremendous step towards eliminating barriers to recreation on city-owned lands, and easing the way for people to enjoy the region."
NYCDEP Commissioner Lloyd said: "The City of New York is committed to working with its partners in the watershed to improve recreational and economic development opportunities. We are particularly pleased to join with DEC in introducing a recreational access program while vigilantly protecting the high quality of New York City's water supply."
New York State owns over 200,000 acres in the City's watershed west of the Hudson River, the vast majority of which is located within the Catskill Forest Preserve. This forested land has been successfully managed by DEC for many decades to allow residents and visitors to enjoy passive recreational activities without the need for State access permits
Generally, City permits are required for access to City-owned land in the watershed. Under this agreement, scheduled to begin in fall 2008, the applicable DEC hunting, fishing and trapping licenses will be the only permits needed on these city lands. No permit will be necessary for hiking.
Dennis Lucas, Chairman of the Coalition of Watershed Towns and Supervisor of the Town of Hunter, said: "I applaud the opening of these significant tracts of land to hunting, fishing, hiking and trapping in the same manner as State-owned land. This is of critical importance to the economy and cultural heritage of our beautiful Catskill Mountains. We are hopeful that this is the beginning of a rejuvenated partnership to keep the water clean forever while promoting vibrant local economies."
For more information about the Catskill Forest Preserve, go to the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov. For more information about NYCDEP’s Watershed Recreation Access Permit, go to www.nyc.gov/dep .