DEP announces nearly 3000 news watershed acres open for recreation

Posted 11/18/19

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced on Nov. 15 that it has opened access this year to 2,956 additional acres of water supply land where outdoor enthusiasts can …

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DEP announces nearly 3000 news watershed acres open for recreation

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The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced on Nov. 15 that it has opened access this year to 2,956 additional acres of water supply land where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy recreation, including hunting. The expanded access includes 1,168 acres on nine new parcels of recreation land, and 1,788 acres that were added to existing recreation areas throughout the Catskills and Hudson Valley. With the state’s regular hunting season starting this weekend, watershed residents and visitors are encouraged to utilize the approximately 98,000 acres of water supply land managed by DEP that are open for hunting. That includes more than 71,000 acres known as “public access areas” that are open for hiking, hunting, and trapping without the need for a DEP Access Permit. Parcels open for hunting are spread across nearly 400 recreation areas in Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Putnam, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.

“DEP has long understood that many types of recreation are compatible with our core mission to protect the water supply for millions of New Yorkers,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza  said.  “Our neighbors who participate in hunting season are important to the ecological health of our watershed, and we welcome them to make safe and productive use of the water supply lands that we’ve opened for hunting in the Catskills and Hudson Valley.”

The new recreation units that allow hunting include nine parcels of land located in Delaware, Greene, Putnam and Sullivan counties. They include the following:  

Rec Unit

Recreational uses allowed

Acres

County

Brower Hill

PAA

54

Delaware

Kerrs Creek

PAA

57

Delaware

MacGibbon Hollow

PAA

288

Delaware

Bigger Hollow

PAA

286

Delaware

Valley View

PAA

25

Delaware

Prospect Hill

PAA

30

Delaware

Beaches Corner

PAA

127

Greene

Forest Road

Bow Hunt/Hike

61

Sullivan

Dixon

Hunt/Hike

240

Putnam

Note: PAA denotes properties that are open for use without the need for a DEP Access Permit. All others require a free permit.

DEP has also added new lands open for hunting in 18 existing recreational units located in Delaware, Greene, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties. They include the following:

Rec Unit

Recreational uses allowed

Acres

County

East Platner Brook

PAA

50

Delaware

Crystal Creek

PAA

172

Delaware

Couse Hill

PAA

100

Delaware

Bryants Brook

PAA

28

Delaware

Elk Creek

PAA

146

Delaware

Bussey Hollow

PAA

105

Delaware

Red Kill Headwaters

PAA

95

Delaware

West Settlement

PAA

15

Delaware

New Kingston

PAA

134

Delaware

South Dunraven

PAA

16

Delaware

Pink Street

PAA

47

Delaware

Four Corners

PAA

419

Greene

Boyds Corners North

Hunt/Hike

212

Putnam

Conklin Brook

PAA

39

Sullivan

South Hill

PAA

52

Ulster

Sholam

PAA

10

Ulster

South Rondout

PAA

89

Ulster

Trout Creek

PAA

59

Ulster

Note: PAA denotes properties that are open for use without the need for a DEP Access Permit. All others require a free permit.  

More information about each of these recreation units – including directions, printable maps and more – can be found by using DEP’s RecMapper utility. The RecMapper is an interactive tool that allows users to zoom in and click on highlighted parcels to learn about their location, size, and the recreational uses that are allowed on them. The RecMapper can be used on any computer or mobile device by visiting www.nyc.gov/dep/recmap. Addition information about recreation on water supper lands can be found at www.nyc.gov/dep/recreation. Hunters who are unclear about what activities are allowed in each unit may also call (800) 575-LAND during regular business hours.

All state hunting regulations – including antler restrictions throughout most of the watershed region – apply on water supply 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. Hunters should also pay careful attention to recreation unit boundaries to avoid venturing onto private properties. In addition, some parcels open for recreation, including those not listed as PAA above, require a free DEP access permit that can obtained through an online permitting system found by clicking here.

Deer management is an important aspect of protecting and maintaining water quality in New York City’s reservoir system. Dense populations of deer can stunt the natural regeneration of forest lands that serve as an important natural filter for water as it passes over the land and enters the streams, creeks and rivers that feed the City’s reservoirs. Hunting on these water supply lands, especially where forestry projects have recently been completed, provides a check on the deer population and gives young trees a better chance to grow. In turn, this improves the vigor and stability of our local forests by diversifying their age and range of species.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality water each day to more than 9.6 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 watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $168.9 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 $20.1 billion in investments planned over the next decade that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.

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