FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 13-70
June 19, 2013
Adam Bosch (845) 334-7868
Chris Gilbride (718) 595-6600
Department of Environmental Protection Opens Catskill Lands and Reservoirs for Certified Guided Tours
Certified Guides Provide Hunting, Fishing, and Hiking Expertise and will Help Boost Local Economies
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced a new program that will allow New York state-certified outdoor guides to utilize City-owned land and reservoirs in the Catskills for the first time. The program for certified guides underscores DEP’s ongoing effort to encourage low-impact recreation on City-owned property in the watersheds that will support the tourism economy in the Catskills. Outdoor guides, long a staple of the Catskills, offer services for hire that include instructing or aiding visitors in fishing, hunting, or hiking.
“Professional guides offer a valuable service for those who are seeking outdoor recreational opportunities in the Catskills,” Commissioner Strickland said. “By opening City-owned properties to these outdoor experts, DEP hopes visitors, including New York City residents, will find new places to enjoy the excellent fishing, hunting, and hiking in the scenic watershed.”
Outdoor guides that want to offer services on City-owned properties must be certified to do so by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Among other requirements, the state program requires all guides to be certified in first aid, CPR, and water safety. Guides also must pass a state exam. Guides who are interested in utilizing City-owned land can call DEP at (800) 575-LAND. Visitors interested in choosing a guide may also call that number to ensure a guide is certified to offer tours on City-owned properties. DEP will not charge a fee, but guides will be required to complete an application and provide a copy of their state certification. Seasons for guide services will coincide with state hunting and fishing regulations, and the City’s recreational rules.
DEP established the program for guides after consulting with tourism agencies and other partners across the Catskill and Delaware Watersheds. In recent years, the City has sought to boost tourism in the Catskills by establishing a recreational boating program at four of its reservoirs, starting a pilot program to use electric trolling motors for fishing on Cannonsville Reservoir, and opening more than 52,000 acres of land that can be used without a permit for hunting, hiking, and other low impact outdoor activities. Opening those properties for outdoor recreation was among 100 initiatives outlined in Strategy 2011-2014, a comprehensive strategic plan to help ensure DEP is the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation. At the same time, DEP has continued a rigorous program of water quality monitoring to ensure that recreation activities do not affect the high quality of the City’s drinking water.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14.4 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.