Pepaction recreational boating program has been smooth sailing

By Brian Sweeney
Nearly 200 permits were issued for recreational boating on the Pepacton Reservoir during the first three weeks of the program.

Recreational boating on the Pepacton Reservoir was inaugurated on Memorial Day weekend. Business has been brisk, so far, according to officials from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which oversees the program on the city-owned reservoir.

Early numbers
Statistics compiled through June 15 show that 178 people have obtained permits from vendors who are certified to perform steaming cleaning of boats before they can be used on the reservoir. The cleaning process is necessary to prevent the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels.

The DEP has established three launch sites on the Pepacton Reservoir. During the first three weeks of program, boaters have launched 86 times from the designated location in Arena in the Town of Middletown, there have been 76 launches from the Shavertown Bridge site in the Town of Andes and 16 launches from Raynor Brook in the Town of Colchester.

Pepacton Bait and Tackle on Route 28, Arkville has been the busiest local vendor, having issued 73 permits for recreational boating use in the first three weeks of the program.

Rentals are brisk
Catskill Adventures and Tours of Big Indian and Margaretville has issued 41 permits, Hogan’s General Store in Andes has issued 38 permits for boaters and Al’s Sport Store in Downsville is next with 30 permits. Independent vendors with boats that have been cleaning certified account for the remainder of the boating usage.

Cheryl Terrace, a partner in Hogan’s General Store, has been very pleased with the early boating activity.

“I am thrilled about people being finally allowed on this spectacular and pristine body of water! By having folks experience (and enjoy) ‘our’ reservoir, the more they are able to understand the importance of protecting our natural resources,” Cheryl commented.

“Let’s face it, we live in paradise,” she added. “We [at Hogan’s] are happy to do our part in helping to make the boating program a huge success.”

The DEP began a three-year pilot recreational boating program in 2009 at the Cannonsville Reservoir, in the towns of Deposit and Tompkins. The success of that program led to the expansion of recreational boating this year in the Pepacton (towns of the Middletown and Andes), Neversink (Town of Neversink) and Schoharie Reservoir (portions lie in the towns of Gilboa, Conesville, Roxbury and Prattsville).

The early season DEP statistics show 34 launches in the Cannonsville Reservoir; 37 launches in the Neversink Reservoir and 27 launches in the Schoharie Reservoir.
Permits by boat type include: kayaks 182, canoes 76, rowboats 12 and sailboats six.