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November 19, 2015

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Department of Environmental Protection Announces 2,186 Additional Watershed Acres Open for Hunting

With New York’s regular hunting season set to begin Saturday, new or expanded access in four counties provides additional opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that it has opened access this year to 2,186 additional acres of water supply land where outdoor enthusiasts can hunt, hike and fish. The expanded access includes 714 acres on nine new parcels of recreation land, and 1,472 acres that were added to existing recreation areas throughout the Catskills. With the state’s regular hunting season starting on Saturday, Nov. 21, sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to utilize the 90,727 acres of water supply land managed by DEP that are open for hunting. That includes 66,125 acres known as “public access areas” that are open for hiking, hunting, and trapping without a DEP Access Permit. Parcels open for hunting are spread across 326 recreation areas in Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Putnam, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties. Many hunters have already started to enjoy this expanded access during the early bow-hunting season that began in October.

“As DEP acquired forests and meadows in the watershed to protect water quality in our reservoirs, we also understood that it was important to keep these lands open for recreational activities that were important to our neighbors,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “The sportsmen and sportswomen who participate in hunting season are important to the ecology of our watershed, and we welcome them to make safe and productive use of the properties we’ve opened in their communities.”

Deer management is critical to protecting and maintaining water quality because forests, especially those immediately adjacent to New York City’s reservoirs, are ideal buffer lands that need to continually regenerate. Dense populations of deer can stunt the regeneration of forest lands that serve as an important natural filter for surface waters before they enter reservoirs and their tributaries. To help address deer overpopulation, more than 250 hunters entered into a lottery for Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAP) that will allow them to harvest antlerless deer on lands immediately adjacent to Ashokan, Cannonsville and Neversink reservoirs. DEP also received DMAPs for a 2,400-acre parcel in Roxbury and an 800-acre parcel in East Fishkill. The DMAPs are provided annually by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. DEP has also continued its partnership with the Westchester County Parks Department this year to provide a limited number of DMAPs to those who are enrolled in a county program that allows hunting at certain county parks that are adjacent to reservoirs. Many of these buffer lands immediately adjacent to the reservoirs are also being managed by DEP foresters to promote the growth of young, vibrant and diverse forests. Promoting hunting in these areas will improve the success of those forestry projects by allowing the next generation of trees to take root and grow to a height where they are no longer vulnerable to deer browsing.

The expanded access areas are located in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties. Some highlights include:

Recreation UnitRec UseCountyTownAcres
Bagley Brook Headwaters Public Access Area Delaware Delhi 215
Davis Hollow Public Access Area Delaware Andes 99
Steele Brook Public Access Area Delaware Delhi 36
Pepacton Plateau*** Public Access Area Delaware Andes 318
Platte Clove Road Public Access Area Greene Hunter 105
Stony Clove Notch*** Public Access Area Greene Hunter 85
North Ashland*** Public Access Area Greene Ashland 43
Robinson Road Public Access Area Schoharie Conesville 42
Hubbard Hill*** Public Access Area Schoharie Gilboa 37
Peck Road*** Public Access Area Ulster Olive 34
Yagerville Road*** Public Access Area Ulster Denning 13

*** Denotes land added to an existing recreation unit.

All state hunting regulations—including antler restrictions throughout most of the watershed region—apply on city-owned lands. Also, those using water supply lands for recreation and hunting should pay careful attention to posted signs that outline what uses are allowed. Access to some areas may be restricted due to ongoing forestry projects and entering areas marked as closed will be considered trespassing. In addition, some parcels open for recreation require a free DEP access permit, which can obtained through an online permitting system found by clicking here.

Additional information about hunting on City-owned property in the watersheds can be found by going to and clicking on the “Watershed Recreation” link. A complete list of recreation units, including maps and more information on the parcels listed above, can be found by going to this link on the DEP website. Hunters who are unclear about what activities are allowed in each unit should check the DEP website or call (800) 575-LAND during regular business hours.

Since 2003, DEP has more than tripled the amount of City-owned water supply lands that are open for recreation to 130,298 acres. Of those acres open to recreation, roughly 94,000 are land and 36,000 are water.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 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.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600