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May 10, 2000

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-5371)

New York City Opens More Watershed Lands To Hiking

As part of its Water Week celebrations, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is opening up 12 new parcels of land for hiking and fishing in both the East-of-Hudson and West-of-Hudson watersheds, according to an announcement by DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E.

"These parcels offer a wide range of hiking and fishing opportunities to the public. When added to those the City opened last year, the total available for hiking is now 4,809 acres in five watershed counties," said Commissioner Miele. "In Putnam County, we are adding 785 acres to the 300-acre Horse Pound Brook Unit in Kent, making a single parcel of 1,085 acres, and we are opening up a 388-acre West Branch Headwaters Unit in Putnam Valley. In Ulster County, we are doubling the amount of land available for hiking and fishing with over 1,800 acres in nine separate parcels in Denning, Olive, Shandaken, Wawarsing and Woodstock. In Greene County, the 245-acre Westkill Unit in Lexington is a new addition, making for a total of 461 acres in the County. In Delaware County, the Murphy Hill Unit of 520 acres in Andes and Colchester and the 431-acre Weaver Hollow Unit in Andes and Middletown are the highlights of the 1,089-acre total now open for hiking."

Permits, issued by DEP at no charge this year, are required for access to lands owned by the City for drinking water quality protection. 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 now allows for fishing on the streams and ponds of 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.

In 1999, DEP opened properties either to deer hunting or to hiking and fishing. Now, some deer hunting areas will also be available for hiking and fishing, except during the deer-hunting season. This will enable hunters to help manage deer herds, but ensure that people can enjoy other recreational opportunities on these lands throughout the rest of the year.

"While hikers with permits are welcome to enjoy DEP's Water Supply lands that are designated for such use," said Commissioner Miele, "current rules include restrictions on 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 can be compatible with 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.

"As spelled out in the Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), 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," said Commissioner Miele. "In keeping with our commitments under the MOA, we review new acquisitions with townships, villages and the Sporting Advisory Committees to identify appropriate recreational activities. As we acquire 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 of 1997, the City owned 80,275 acres, which include the actual reservoirs. Traditionally, anglers with City permits have fished at the reservoirs, while deer hunter 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 23,118 acres in the eight watershed counties at a cost of over $67 million. Of the 23,329 acres that the City had reviewed for possible recreational uses, 14,537 (62%) were deemed potentially appropriate for access to hiking and fishing opportunities, and 13,564 (58%) for hunting. Of the total, 2,794 acres (12%) were considered so hydrologically sensitive that they should be set aside solely for water quality protection purposes. 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 taxes on all its properties 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 (www.ci.nyc.ny.us/dep), 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:

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



Beetree Hill Unit Woodstock 200 acres
Big Indian Unit Shandaken 240 acres
Blue Hill Unit Neversink 314 acres
Covesville Unit Middletown 56 acres
East Mountain Unit Wawarsing 103 acres
Herdman Road Unit Shandaken 17 acres
Horse Pound Brook Unit Kent 1,085 acres
Huckleberry Brook Unit Middletown 82 acres
Maplecrest Unit Windham 116 acres
Mink Hollow Unit Woodstock 502 acres
Murphy Hill Unit Andes and Colchester 520 acres
Red Hill Knolls Unit Denning 164 acres
Sheridan Mountain Unit Shandaken 91 acres
Weaver Hollow Unit Andes and Middletown 431 acres
West Branch Headwaters Cluster Putnam Valley 388 acres
West Shokan Cluster Olive 103 acres
Westkill Unit Lexington 245 acres
Yagerville Road Unit Denning

152 acres


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