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A guide to boating on Catskills reservoirs
6/29/12 - 8:38 pm
Above: Canoeing the Pepacton Reservoir. Photo by Dennis Schvejda, via the Watershed Post Flickr pool.
Boating on Catskills reservoirs in 5 Steps
The reservoirs hold drinking water for eight million people, and New York City's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is pretty obsessive about keeping them clean. So before you get out on the water, you'll have to jump through a few hoops. You have to have a permit and a steam-cleaned vessel processed by an authorized steam-cleaning vendor. And you must use a DEP-approved launch area for putting in and taking out your boat, which can only be a kayak, canoe, rowboat, scull or sailboat.
1. Pick your reservoir. (You need a separate permit and steam-cleaning for each reservoir.) Want to camp out nearby? Head to the Schoharie, where the Nickerson Park campground is renting canoes and campgrounds. Want to be close to NYC? Head to the Neversink in Sullivan County. Want tons of space to paddle for miles? Go to the Pepacton, which is a whopping 9 square miles of water. Want the spot with the most launch sites? Head to the Cannonsville, where a pilot boating program has been in place for a few years.
2. Get an access permit from the DEP. You can apply online here.
You can apply for and print out your own permit online at https://a826- web01.nyc.gov/recpermitapp, or from a steam cleaner. (See our listings.)
3. Find an authorized steam cleaner to clean your boat, or to rent you one.
Boats must be steam-cleaned anew for each reservoir. Designated steam cleaners also process DEP access permits and issue boat tags.
4. Make sure that you have a reservoir-specific boat tag.
Either the boat rental vendor or the steam-cleaner can provide this.
5. Find an approved launch site and get out on the water.
The DEP has PDF maps of its launch sites on the four reservoirs.
Useful Catskills boating links and resources
Reservoirs and Rules
For the complete rules and regs, check out the DEP's resource website for boaters, which has all the rules, an online permit application, and printable boat tags.
Online application for DEP boating access permit
Downloadable version of DEP boating rules
Catskills Region website: Maps of all four reservoirs open to paddling
Designated Steam Cleaning Vendors
Near the Cannonsville:
Rainbow Lodge – (607) 865-7534 440 Rainbow Lodge Road Walton, NY 13856
JMT Enterprises – (607) 865-7801 1724 Chamberlain Brook Road Walton, NY 13856-2425
Warner Enterprises – (607) 467-3010 69 Main Street Deposit, NY 13754
Backus Farms – (607) 865-6639 7377 Co. Hwy 27 Trout Creek, NY 13839
Near the Pepacton:
Al’s Sport Store – (607) 363-7740 6964 River Road Downsville, NY 13755
Hogan’s General Store – (845) 676-3470 103 Main Street Andes, NY 13731 email@example.com
Catskills Adventures & Tours– (845) 586-4464 42480 State Highway 28 Margaretville, NY 12455 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pepacton Bait & Tackle – (845) 750-5061 43005 Rte. 28 Arkville, NY 12406
Pepacton Paddles – (845) 586-2055 213 Fair Street Margaretville, NY 12455 email@example.com
Above Pepacton Waters – (845) 586-1534 333 Close Hollow Road Margaretville, NY 12455
Near the Schoharie:
Nickerson Park Campground – (607) 588-7327 378 Stryker Road Gilboa, NY 12076
O’Hara’s Service – (518) 299-3814 14701 Main Street Prattsville, NY 12468
Near the Neversink:
Paddling on Streams and Rivers
The East Branch of the Delaware River: The East Branch Access Project
A little history: Reservoirs and the Catskills
Our coverage of the opening of the reservoirs
Brought to you by Pepacton Paddles, a Watershed Post sponsor.
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