DEP, county to explore options for recreation on NYC reservoirs


By Matthew J. Perry

The Catskills’ water reservoirs, for years available to fishermen in rowboats, may soon offer greater opportunities for recreation.  

The New York State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a statement on April 10 confirming that a panel will be formed to “consider” opening the Cannonsville Reservoir as “a Recreational Boating Destination.”  

Delaware County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Eisel shared this news at a regular meeting last week, confirming that he and Dean Frazier, the county’s commissioner of watershed affairs, had met with DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd and Deputy Commissioner for the DEP Bureau of Water Supply, Paul Rush, in January.  

Eisel stated that the DEP requested that the panel be kept small, with representatives from DEP, DEC, and the supervisors from Deposit and Tompkins joining the chairman at meetings.  It is likely the reservoir will have a single point of entry for boats, although the site of the point, as well as what types of boats will be allowed, has yet to be determined.  

The DEP release states that the Cannonsville pilot program “could be in place” as early as 2009.  Should it be successful, the Pepacton Reservoir would be next in line for development, according to Eisel.

Quoted in the release, Rush stated, “It is our expectation that new recreational boating opportunities will help sustain and create employment opportunities in the watershed.”

Delhi Supervisor Peter Bracci expressed the board’s approval for “a very good start.”  

“We call them lakes, not reservoirs,” he said.  “There’s great potential for economic development tied to them.”