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New York Eases Access Requirements to 13,000 Acres Located in Catskill Mountains

From New York Department of Environmental Conservation

-- New York State and New York City officials recently announced the completion of a landmark agreement to ease recreational access to approximately 13,000 acres of city-owned property in the Catskills.

Under the cooperative agreement, hiking, hunting, fishing and trapping on dozens of city-owned parcels that are adjacent to state Forest Preserve land in the Catskills no longer require a separate city permit.

This is the latest in a series of recent recreational improvements for the Catskills, including opening new areas to mountain biking at Mount Hayden and launching a pilot program for boating at Cannonsville Reservoir.

For many years, DEP permits have been required for access to city-owned land in the Catskills watershed. Under the new agreement, first outlined a year ago, the applicable DEC hunting, fishing and trapping licenses will be the only permits needed on the land impacted by this agreement. No permit will be necessary for hiking.

Maps showing the affected areas in parts of Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties are available at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/watershed_protection/huntmaps2.shtml

Under the new access initiative, DEC will patrol the these areas to enforce regulations, help protect the environment, and further assist in the management of these lands. New York State owns over 200,000 acres in the city's watershed west of the Hudson River, the vast majority of which is located within the Catskill Forest Preserve.

The state and city have joined with local leaders to expand recreational access to Catskill Region lands on several fronts. In September, the city granted DEC a land-use permit to manage Mount Hayden (Windham, Greene County) that will enable visitors to hunt, trap, fish, bike and hike without the need to obtain a city access permit (http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/46639.html).

At the same time, DEC adopted a State Land Master Plan for the Catskill Forest Preserve that creates a new, 156-acre bicycle corridor in the northern Catskills (http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/46638).

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