Reservoir boating program tops 1,000 users

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Margaretville — The Pepacton Reservoir again led the activity in recreational boating program administered by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
In addition to the Pepacton, the permit program allows boating on the Cannonsville, Neversink and Schoharie reservoirs.
The DEP’s final statistics for 2013 showed that 757 boating tags were issued for the four reservoirs during the season that extends from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. The pilot program was started in the Cannonsville Reservoir in 2009 and expanded last season to the additional reservoirs.
Of the total permits issued, a breakdown shows the following types of non-motorized crafts being utilized: 505 kayaks, 189 canoes, 33 rowboats, 25 sailboats and five sculls.
The Pepacton Reservoir received the most boating usage with 461 boaters. The Neversink was next with 126 tags issued, 108 for Cannonsville and 62 at Schoharie.
DEP statistics indicate that 63 percent of recreational boating tags were issued to residents of the five watershed counties, including Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster.
In addition, 14 percent of tags were issued to residents of New York City or Long Island. Out-of-state boaters came from Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Innovations
As the recreational boating program develops, DEP officials are implementing changes aimed at improving the experience and making it easier for more people to participate.
This season, working in partnership with the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC), a boat rental program was introduced that allows local businesses to store and rent recreational boats alongside the four reservoirs. The reservoir-based rentals attracted more than 300 additional boaters through the seven businesses that took part in this project. The CWC purchased 30 storage racks that allowed on-site boat storage.
Another innovation was opening DEP-owned lands and waters to more than 20 state-certified outdoor guides. The guides offered professional tours to dozens of visitors.