DEP Access Permit FAQs

A DEP Access Permit is required on all City-owned recreational lands that are posted with “Entry by Permit” signs. City-owned lands that are immediately adjacent to reservoirs and open for recreation also require a DEP Access Permit. It is important that all recreational users verify the designated uses of City-owned lands because these designations may vary.

Where can I recreate?

You can recreate on Water Supply lands specifically designated for recreational access. Areas available for recreational use by those with valid DEP Access Permit are generally identified by Watershed Recreation Signs stating “Entry by Permit” or, for fishing-only access, “No Admittance Except for Fishing Under Permit”. Areas not available for recreation are closed to public access, and are generally identified by signs stating “No Trespassing” or “Restricted Area”. Other areas, called “Public Areas”, are available for recreational use without permits.

Use our Interactive Recreation Map to find City-owned properties and understand the types of recreation that are permitted in each area. You can also download Recreation Areas and Use Designations by County. We encourage Anglers to download our Reservoir Angler Maps.

What activities can I do on Water Supply lands?

We offer opportunities for Boating, Fishing, Hiking, and Hunting and Trapping. Fishing is allowed on all reservoirs, but hiking and hunting are only allowed on certain designated lands. Hiking includes cross country skiing, bird watching, snowshoeing, nature observation, and photography.

What is an Access Permit?

A DEP Access Permit is required on all City-owned recreational lands that are posted with “Entry by Permit” signs. City-owned lands that are immediately adjacent to reservoirs and open for recreation also require a DEP Access Permit. It is important that all recreational users verify the designated uses of City-owned lands because these designations may vary.

A DEP Access Permit also grants an individual permission to:

  • Fish on City reservoirs
  • Hike and fish on specially designated City lands
  • Apply for a Boat Tag and store and use a boat on a City reservoir

Is there an age requirement for Access Permits?

Children under the age of 16 do not need an Access Permit. They may enter City-owned Water Supply lands if accompanied by a valid permit holder over the age of 18. Minors between the ages of 12 and 18 may apply for a DEP Access Permit with the permission of their parent or guardian if they would like to use Water Supply lands without the presence of an adult. Those 16 years of age or older must apply for a permit to use City-owned Water Supply lands.

How long is an Access Permit good for?

All new DEP Access Permit are five-year permits.

How can I renew my Access Permit?

You can renew your permit online using our DEP Access Permit System. For more information, call 1-800-575-LAND (5263).

Does it cost anything to get a permit?

There is no charge for a DEP Access Permit.

Can I bring friends onto Water Supply lands with me?

Yes. In order to access Water Supply lands, visitors must have a valid Guest Pass and be accompanied by an Access Permit holder 18 years or older. Download the Guest Past Application Form. Print and fill in the Guest Pass Form, and carry it with you while you are accessing recreation areas that require a DEP Access Permit.

What is a Guest Pass and how can I get one?

A Guest Pass is required for any person over 16 years of age who will temporarily be using designated Water Supply lands for any type of recreation except hunting. When using Water Supply lands, the guest must be accompanied by an Access Permit holder over 18 years of age. A Guest Pass is valid for 7 consecutive days.

To obtain a guest pass, download the Guest Past Application Form, fill it in, and carry it with you while you are accessing recreation areas that require a DEP Access Permit.

How can I get more information about Access Permits or recreational use?

For additional information about Water Supply recreation opportunities in a certain area or on specific recreation units, please call the Land for that area:

  • Ashokan Reservoir: (845) 657-2663
  • Schoharie Reservoir: (607) 588-6231
  • Rondout and Neversink Reservoirs: (845) 334-7152
  • Cannonsville and Pepacton Reservoirs: (607) 363-7009
  • East of Hudson Reservoirs: (914) 232-1309

Where can I get an Access Permit and Guest Pass application?

You can fill out and submit a DEP Access Permit online, or download and print an Access Permit Application Form or a Guest Pass Application Form. Applications are also available at most Town Halls and participating bait and tackle shops in the watershed. There are also copies at the following DEP Offices where they are available 24/7 in boxes outside the office:

  • East of Hudson Reservoirs, 54 Croton Falls Road, Mahopac, NY 10541
  • Ashokan Reservoir, Beaverkill Road and Route 28A, Shokan, NY
  • Schoharie Reservoir, 3700 State Rt. 990V, Gilboa, NY
  • Rondout & Neversink Reservoirs, Route 42, Grahamsville, NY
  • Pepacton & Cannonsville Reservoirs, NYC Highway 30A, Downsville, NY

You can also visit one of the DEP Police Precincts:

  • Ashokan Precinct, Route 28A, Shokan, NY 12481
  • Beerston Precinct, 21939 State Highway 10, Walton, NY 13856 (near Beersbrook Rd.)
  • Croton Precinct, 900 Croton Lake Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598 (Route 129, 1.5 miles southeast of the Taconic Parkway)
  • Downsville Precinct, 22 NYC Highway 30A, Downsville, NY 13755
  • Neversink Precinct, corner of Route 55 and Route 42, Grahamsville, NY 12740

During normal business hours Monday–Friday you can visit these in-City locations:

  • Bureau of Customer Services, 1250 Broadway (8th Floor), New York, NY
  • One-Stop Center (First Floor), 96-05 Horace Harding Expressway, Corona, NY

Can I copy the application for my friends?

Yes. You may copy the blank Guest Pass Application Form and Access Permit Application Form for further distribution.

If I don’t have a driver’s license, can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply using a non-drivers ID from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Either a driver’s license or non-driver’s ID must be provided.

How can a 12 or 15 year-old without a driver’s license apply?

They may use their non-drivers ID to apply. Some states, including New York, issue non-drivers IDs to minors even if they reside in another state. Minors that would like to use City lands without the presence of an adult will need a signature from a parent or guardian.

Download the Access Permit Application

Do I need a NY State Fishing License to get a permit?

No, you can get your permit without a license but you must have a valid NYS Fishing License when fishing on a City-owned reservoir or stream, and the appropriate NYS Hunting License when hunting, in order to comply with State Law. For more information on New York State licenses, please visit the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Once I apply, how long will it take to get my Access Permit?

Applications submitted on our DEP Access Permit System are processed immediately, allowing you to print your Access Permit right away. It generally takes up to two weeks to process an Access Permit Application Form received via regular mail. Permits applications will be issued in the order in which they are received.

Will DEP give or sell any of my information to a third party?

The information submitted on your application is for agency purposes only. It will not be sold or shared with any third party without your permission. It may be disclosed if required pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law or a valid subpoena or court order; in connection with any administrative or legal proceeding pertaining to a violation of DEP’s rules; or as required to remedy an emergency situation.

I mailed in my application a while ago and have not received it yet, what should I do?

We process applications as quickly as possible in the order received. Not infrequently there are errors, omissions, or illegible writing on the applications. An effort is made to contact and follow-up on every problem application, but due to lack of a phone number or unclear address, this is not always possible. The Land Management Office can look up the status of your application if it has been more than four weeks since you submitted it, but please keep such requests to a minimum as it slows down the process.

If I mailed in an application but didn’t get my permit back yet, can I apply again on-line and print it right away?

If your application was received and processed by regular mail, you will not be able to get an Access Permit via the internet. Your permit should be in the mail on its way to you. If you wait more than four weeks to receive your permit, please contact the Office for assistance at 1-800-575-LAND (5263).

What if my Access Permit application information (i.e., name or address) changes, or is printed incorrectly on my permit?

You can update your information using our DEP Access Permit System. You can mail us a completed Access Permit Update Form. It is important that you keep your contact information current in order to receive permit renewal information, notices and newsletters.

I lost my permit or my vehicle tag, what should I do?

If you lose your permit or vehicle tag, mail a note including your name, address, Access Permit number and phone number to NYC DEP—Access Permits, 71 Smith Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401 or send an email to requesting a replacement. If you obtained your permit and vehicle tag via the DEP Access Permit System, you may reprint them from there.