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June 21, 2016

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Department of Environmental Protection Releases Interactive Mapping Tool for Watershed Recreation

Digital mapping tool includes 130,000 acres of recreational access at more than 400 sites

DEP will demonstrate recreation mapper at four public forums in the Catskills, Hudson Valley

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the release of an interactive recreation mapping tool that uses layers of data and maps to help the public find properties that are open for fishing, hiking and other types of outdoor recreation. The digital map, which provides information on City-owned properties that are open for recreation, is now available on DEP’s website by visiting The map also shows New York State lands such as forest preserve and other accessible areas. DEP will hold a number of public forums this summer to demonstrate the new mapping tool and help outdoor enthusiasts learn about watershed recreation opportunities on City-owned lands in the Catskills and Hudson Valley.

“This easy-to-use mapping tool will help watershed residents and visitors find hundreds of scenic locations that are open for hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities,” DEP Acting Commissioner Steve Lawitts said. “DEP has opened more than 130,000 acres of water and land for public recreation, but that access is only useful if the public can locate the properties and understand the types of recreation that are allowed at each site. This new interactive tool achieves both goals, and it reaffirms our commitment to support tourism and outdoor recreation in the communities that surround our water supply system.”

DEP developed the digital tool by combining maps of recreation areas with data related to parcel size, location, uses allowed on each parcel, and other information. It allows users to interactively explore recreation areas by zooming in to any portion of the Croton, Catskill or Delaware watersheds. Watershed parcels owned by New York City are shaded in blue; forest preserve and other areas owned by New York State are shaded in brown. The map also features icons for fishing access and recreational boat launch areas on City reservoirs. The 10 hiking trails that have been developed on DEP lands, with significant help from nonprofit partners, are also delineated on the map.

Users can click each City-owned parcel to see more information, including the name of the recreation unit, its location by county and road, the types of recreational uses that are allowed, and the state’s wildlife management unit designation for each parcel. Each recreation unit also includes a “more info” link that brings users to a standalone map that includes acreage of the parcel and topographic lines that show its steepness. There are several map views, including ones that provide aerial images, that further help users to learn more about “on the ground” features of the property. The tool was designed to work on computers, cell phones and tablets.

The recreation mapping tool currently includes a total 131,944 acres of City-owned land and water east of the Hudson River in Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties, and in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties in the Catskills. The mapped areas comprise 393 distinct parcels of recreation land totaling 96,113 acres. Those recreation areas range from as small as 6 acres to as large as 3,804 acres. The map also outlines recreational access to 19 reservoirs covering a combined surface area of 35,831 acres.

DEP will participate in several public gatherings this summer to demonstrate the new mapping tool and share information about recreational access on water supply lands and waters. Public sessions scheduled thus far include:

  • Thursday, June 23, at Morgan Outdoors, located at 46 Main St., Livingston Manor, NY 12758. The event will begin at 7 p.m.
  • Monday, June 27, at the Kent Public Library in Putnam County, located at 17 Sybils Crossing, Carmel, NY 10512. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 29, at the Time and the Valleys Museum, located at 332 Main St., Grahamsville, NY 12740. The event will begin at 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, July 6 at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper, located at 5096 State Route 28, Mount Tremper, NY 12457. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 7 at the Catskill Watershed Corporation office, located at 905 Main St., Margaretville, NY 12455.

The recreation mapping tool can be accessed directly by clicking here.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to roughly 9.5 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and other professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

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NYC Department of Environmental Protection
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