Recognizing the importance that streams play in the quality of life for watershed residents and visitors alike, the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) works with community partners to expand recreational opportunities and public access to area streams. AWSMP coordinates an active Stream Access and Recreation Working Group attended by landowners, business owners, representatives from community groups, and government and nonprofit agencies. Together we investigate trail and put-in access to streams, and recreational opportunities within stream corridors that include viewing, angling, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking. Development of stream access points can provide opportunities not only for recreation, but also to draw visitors toward town centers where they may frequent local shops and restaurants, helping to bolster the local economy.
Access points provide excellent opportunities for education on stream management issues. The program has funded an educational kiosk near the intersection of Herdman Road and Woodland Valley Road in the Town of Shandaken that explains a stream restoration project located on the Esopus Creek, local ecology, and invasive species issues. AWSMP is also working to create a new educational kiosk at the Main Street Bridge in Phoenicia where a flood mitigation project was completed in the months following Tropical Storm Irene. Both locations are places where people commonly interact with streams.