Access to NYC land proposed

Proposed changes to regulations will expand recreational access to some watershed lands around the S

Proposed changes to regulations will expand recreational access to some watershed lands around the Schoharie Reservoir and other New York City owned water-supply reservoirs.

Locally, certain lands in the Schoharie Reservoir watershed are included, according to Paul Lenz, a natural resources manager with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

The amended rules will create a new designation to be called “public access areas,” where hiking, fishing, hunting and trapping will be allowed without any city DEP permit.

Initially, the new category will include most city lands adjacent to state lands managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. City officials say that will later be expanded to include certain additional lands which do not abut state lands.

A total of about 5,800 acres are available for recreational use on city land within the Schoharie Reservoir’s watershed, Lenz said.

That includes a 148-acre section known as the Road Seven Recreation Unit, on the west side of the reservoir that is already open for hunting and fishing.

While the proposed new rules will ease use of some land, Lenz noted that DEP access permits are still needed for the land in the buffer areas around the reservoir. City issued tags will still be required to keep a fishing boat on city reservoir lands.

Once changes are approved, and new signs in place, anglers, hunters, trappers, hikers and other recreational users of certain designated city lands will no longer need a permit from the city Department of Environmental Protection.

“Under the amended rules, the only authorization needed on these city lands will be the applicable [state] Department of Environmental Conservation hunting, fishing and trapping licenses,” according a DEP news release.

Several hearings are planned for comment on the expanded access rules. The nearest will be at 7 p.m. June 25 at the state-operated Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in the Catskills at Highmount.

“Low-impact public recreation encompassed in this program comports fully with the long-term protection of the high-quality New York City drinking water supply, while significantly promoting local economic vitality,” said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis, in a statement.

Officials of the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Coalition of Watershed Towns, also support the increased access rules, according the city DEP.

The changes will also allow year-round fishing, as long as no ice is present, on most city reservoirs in the Croton watershed system in Putnam County in the lower Hudson Valley.

Categories: Schenectady County

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