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June 6, 2001

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-6600)

New York City Continues to Open More Watershed Lands for Hiking

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is opening 12 new areas of land for hiking and fishing in both the East-of-Hudson and West-of-Hudson watersheds this spring, according to an announcement by DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E.

"This year DEP has opened over 2,700 acres of water supply land for hiking and fishing," said Commissioner Miele. "This brings the total to over 7,000 acres at 29 sites across the watershed. In Putnam County, we are adding 316 acres to the West Branch Headwaters Unit in Putnam Valley, which is now 704 acres in size. In Ulster County, we are again doubling the amount of land available for hiking and fishing with 1,500 new acres in nine separate parcels in Denning, Olive, Shandaken, Wawarsing and Woodstock. This makes for over 3,300 acres at 18 sites available in Ulster. Several of these new parcels provide good new access from public roads to State Forest Preserve lands. The 472-acre Trout Creek Unit in Wawarsing boasts 2,600 feet of stream frontage and a dense mountain laurel understory. There are a total of 461 acres at two sites open in Greene County. In Delaware County, the New Kingston Mountain Unit of 282 acres is the first opening in Roxbury and brings the total for the County up to 1,479 acres at six sites. We are pleased to continue making steady progress making lands available for low-impact recreational use," Mr. Miele continued.

Permits, issued by DEP at no charge this year, are required for access to these lands, which the City acquired for drinking water quality protection purposes. The 'hiking' permit allows such activities as, bird-watching, nature observation and photography, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing, as well as walking. Additionally, the hiking permit allows for fishing on the streams and ponds located on these newly acquired lands. Special DEP fishing permits are still required at the reservoirs, however. Hiking permit applicants will receive maps of the individual parcels with their permits. Hikers and anglers should be cautious and aware that most of these properties will be opened for limited deer hunting during November and December this year. This will enable hunters to help manage deer herds. Hikers are advised either to avoid visiting the properties during the deer-hunting season or to take adequate precautions.

"While hikers with valid permits are welcome to enjoy DEP's Water Supply lands that are designated for such use," said Commissioner Miele, "there are prohibitions on certain activities including the disposal of garbage, trash and human waste; on bathing or swimming; on camping, picnicking and building fires; and on the use of any motorized vehicles. It is important that visitors observe these rules to demonstrate that recreational activities on City-owned lands are compatible with the protection of water quality in the streams and reservoirs of the watershed. Additionally, to ensure personal safety and to prevent inadvertent trespass on the private property of neighboring landowners, hikers are asked to review the site maps carefully whenever they visit any of these City-owned parcels."

DEP advises that there are no maintained trails on any of these properties at this time, and hikers with permits enter these parcels at their own risk. The City is seeking to establish stewardship partnerships with organizations, towns or groups, who may be interested in developing and maintaining trails. Parking is limited in all areas and generally restricted to roadsides. Permitted hikers are asked to exercise caution when parking along roads, and to adhere to all local and applicable parking regulations.

"DEP has been purchasing lands at fair market prices from willing sellers to protect the quality of water in the streams, wetlands and reservoirs of the watershed in accordance with n the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)," said Commissioner Miele. "To identify appropriate recreational activities consistent with this agreement, DEP consults with towns, villages, the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Sporting Advisory Committees. As the City acquires new properties, we will continue to make many of them available for a variety of recreational uses compatible with protecting water quality and public safety."

Prior to instituting the City's Land Acquisition Program under the MOA, the City owned 80,275 acres, which include the actual reservoirs, as well as the protective buffer lands around them. Traditionally, anglers with City permits have fished at the reservoirs, while deer hunters have had access to 10,300 acres at the Cannonsville Reservoir for over 20 years.

As of April 30th, the City had acquired or signed purchase agreements on an additional 30,051 acres in the eight watershed counties. City ownership of these lands will help to protect and improve water quality in watershed wetlands and trout streams, as well as the reservoirs. The City pays assessed property taxes on all its properties and facilities in the watershed.

Hiking Permit Applications, as well as City Fishing Permit Applications, may be obtained at DEP's permit offices in the watersheds and in New York City. Applications may also be downloaded from DEP's Web site (, and will be sent by mail to those who phone 1-800-575-LAND (1-800-575-5263). Additionally, applications will be available at municipal offices of the towns in which lands are located. Copies of detailed site maps and hiking regulations will be given to all permit holders.

The City's Hiking and Fishing Permit offices are open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, March 15th through October 15th, at the following watershed locations:

Croton System Office
1 Belden Road and Route 6
Carmel, NY 10512
Catskill District Office
Route 28A Shokan, NY 12468
Delaware District Office (Sullivan County)
Route 42 Grahamsville, NY 12740
914/985-2524 & 7749
Delaware District Office (Delaware County)
Route 30 Downsville, NY 13755
607/363-7009 & 7010

The following Hiking and Fishing Permit Offices in New York City are open during normal business hours, Monday through Friday:

NYCDEP Customer & Conservation Services
1250 Broadway (8th Floor)
New York, NY 10001
NYCDEP One-Stop Center (First Floor)
96-05 Horace Harding Expressway
Corona, NY 11368



Pepacton Ledges Andes 108
Murphy Hill Andes & Colchester 520
Weaver Hollow Andes & Middletown 431
Red Hill Knolls Denning 164
Yagerville Road Denning 152
Boyd Corners North Kent 254
Horse Pound Brook Kent 1,085
Westkill Lexington 263
Covesville Middletown 56
Huckleberry Brook Middletown 82
Blue Hill Neversink 314
Piney Point Road Olive 297
South Mountain Olive 273
West Shokan Cluster Olive 103
West Branch Headwaters Putnam Valley 509
New Kingston Mountain Roxbury 282
Big Indian Shandaken 240
Herdman Road Shandaken 17
Millbrook Hollow Shandaken 32
Romer Mountain Shandaken 16
Sheridan Mountain Shandaken 107
East Mountain Wawarsing 103
Lackawack Hill Wawarsing 103
South Rondout Wawarsing 299
Trout Creek Wawarsing 472
Maplecrest Windham 116
Beetree Hill Woodstock 200
Mink Hollow Woodstock 502
Warner Creek Woodstock 156
Wittenberg Woodstock 100


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600