On Thursday, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection announced that it would allow boat rental businesses to store rental vessels directly on the banks of the NYC reservoirs. The policy change will make things easier for rental companies, which had to store their boats elsewhere last season and schlep them to and from the lakes for every paddler.
The DEP, working with the Catskill Watershed Corporation, has purchased storage racks to house 120 rental boats, but it's unclear how they will be split up between the reservoirs.
Read the full press release about the change below:
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ANNOUNCES PROGRAM FOR WATERSHED BUSINESSES TO STORE RENTAL KAYAKS AND CANOES AT NEW YORK CITY RESERVOIRS
Rental Boats Will be a Boost to Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Economy in Catskills
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that, for the first time, approved boat rental businesses in the Catskills will be able to store kayaks and canoes alongside four City reservoirs, providing another boost to the tourism economy by making it easier for businesses to rent recreational boats to visitors. More than a dozen businesses have already expressed interest in storing rental boats alongside the Cannonsville, Pepacton, Neversink and Schoharie reservoirs, where recreational boating is allowed with the appropriate permits.
“DEP is committed to expanding outdoor recreational opportunities and supporting the tourism economy in the Catskills,” Commissioner Strickland said. “By providing storage for rental kayaks and canoes at the reservoirs, it will now be easier for visitors to enjoy boating on our reservoirs without having to buy and maintain their own boat.”
DEP has worked with the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) to acquire 30 storage racks that will each hold four rental boats. CWC is also soliciting information from local businesses that rent boats, including how many boats they would like to store, and which launch sites they would prefer to use. Businesses will be vetted and approved through a request-for-proposals process.
“The CWC is happy to continue to support DEP’s recreational boating program by providing funds for boat racks,” CWC Executive Director Alan Rosa said. “The racks will allow safe, neat storage of canoes and kayaks, including rental boats that will enable folks that don’t own one to enjoy some quality time on the water.”
To protect the quality of the water in the reservoirs, the rental kayaks and canoes will be steam cleaned before they are stored inside the racks at each of the four reservoirs. Because they will not leave the reservoirs, the boats will not need to be steam cleaned after each use. Local businesses will determine the cost of renting the boats. Visitors using the rental boats still must obtain an access permit, free of charge, from DEP and boaters may still use personal kayaks and canoes on the reservoirs, so long as they are steam cleaned to avoid the spread of invasive species.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.3 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties. 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 employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 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 over $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 www.nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nycwater.