Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cannonsville Reservoir Opens for 2010 Season with New Launch Site

New York State's Great Western Catskills in Delaware County have long been a place for those who know the secrets of its waters. The best fly fishing spots, early season high water kayaking on the rivers, fishing from canoes on the reservoirs. What had been lacking are large bodies of water for recreational use, until last year. What changed was the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's opening up of most of the Cannonsville Reservoir for recreational kayaking, canoeing, sculls, and for small sailboats, like Sunfish. Last year over 400 people went through the process of getting a permit and steam cleaning their boats, and got to paddle on these pristine waters.

Historically, the City's reservoirs have only been open to fishing boats under permit. After much urging from the local communities the City agreed to run a pilot program on the western reservoir, the Cannonsville, which runs from south of Walton west and south towards Deposit and Hancock. This is a three year pilot program running from 2009 to 2011, after which the City will assess the benefits and local impact and determine whether to keep it open or possibly expand it.

Two steps are required to access the Cannonsville. First the boater will need a DEP Access Permit, which you can get online at or at local sports stores. Second is the Recreational Boat Tag, which you get once your boat has been steam cleaned. All craft must be steam cleaned prior to being placed on the water and permits affixed to the boats. The Recreational Boat Tag will last from 1 to 7 days. Full season Boat Tags will be issued by the DEP's Downsville office and will permit owners to leave their boats locked up at launch areas. Trailers are not allowed in the water and there is no camping at these sites.

For the 2010 season the NYC DEP has opened a ninth launch site at Roods Creek, on the southern side of the reservoir. This provides a second launch site for sailboats. Roods Creek joins the eight original launch sites at Mormon Hollow, Dry Brook, Speedwell, Patterson, Apex, Fish Brook Beers Brook, and Dryden Brook.

Boat Cleaning

Five boat cleaning businesses will be in operation in the towns surrounding the reservoir, in Downsville, Deposit, Trout Creek and Walton, and are detailed on the free brochure on detailing the new pilot program. The cleaning process will take about 20 minutes per boat, so make sure you give yourself enough time if you have a few boats. These vendors can issue a temporary pass and get their watercraft steam cleaned. When you visit these locations, please remember to support these local vendors and purchase your supplies from them. For those wishing to obtain a full season pass, steam cleaning services will be provided by the DEP Downsville Operation's office located on NYS Route 30. Call 607-363-7009 to schedule an appointment.

Boat Rentals

Here are a few options for renting boats, though you'll still need to have the boat steam cleaned. Als Sport Store in Downsville will be renting out canoes and kayaks. Call them at 607-326-3500 or visit Catskill Outfitters in Walton will be renting kayaks and canoes. Call them at 607-865-8827 or visit Border Water Outfitters in Hancock will be renting canoes and they can be reached at 607-637-4296 or at Old Town Kayaks in Halcottsville will have both kayaks and canoes available. Call them at 607-326-4266 or visit their website at Catskill Outback Adventures has kayaks and canoes to rent out to the public, complete with car top accessories for transporting the boat. Call them for more info at 845-254-9888 or visit their website at

Access is from sunrise to sunset and will run from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus weekend. The Delaware County tourism office is providing a brochure outlining all the information you need to know on the rules and regulations for the Cannonsville. You can receive a copy by calling 866-775-4425 and leaving your name and address or by emailing your request to You can download the brochure on the tourism website

Great Western Catskills Tourism

The Great Western Catskills is an easy day trip from New York City metro area, Albany, or Binghamton and a great weekend getaway or vacation destination for all. To learn about other great outdoor resources, Stay-and-Play Packages, camping in the western Catskills, and great events in our towns and villages, log on to: For a free travel literature including the brochure on the Cannonsville Reservoir, public fishing access map, antique trails, and other literature, call toll-free: (866) 775-4425 or e-mail: