August 5, 2009: Trash is a problem

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To The Editor:
“The Watershed Advocate,” the newsletter of the Catskill Watershed Corp., in its Summer 2009 edition had a front page article about the opening of the Cannonsville Reservoir for recreational boating. This was a positive article about a great step forward by NYCDEP. I do want to comment on a specific point in the article, “there have been no enforcement problems thus far, and only a small amount of trash has been generated.”
I would like it to be known that when a number of Catskill Mountain Club members, including myself, went for a paddle on the Cannonsville about a month ago we noted a very large amount of accumulated trash around the banks of the reservoir. It was obvious that this trash had accumulated over the years since the reservoir was built and caused by natural flooding events. Should not NYC attend to this unsightly and potentially polluting mess? We, Catskill Mountain Club, Tremperskill Hunting and Fishing Club amongst other local groups, have participated in a number of clean ups around the Pepacton. I believe that it would be incumbent for NYCDEP to initiate their own clean ups in the future and on their own dime.
A final comment, which I did not mention in my letter praising the opening of the Cannonsville, is the fact that we, all five paddlers did remove a lot of flotsam that we encountered and piled it neatly for appropriate pick up and removal at the launch site. Included in this was a plastic gallon jug half filled with used motor oil. I do hope that NYCDEP does recognize the fact that canoe and kayak paddlers do not generate trash and are not prone to discarding trash on the waters that they cherish and enjoy recreating on.
Again, thank you NYCDEP and the others involved in providing this recreational opportunity.

Jack McShane, board member
Catskill Mountain Club