Increasing Public Access to Streams

Esopus Creek stream access sign

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.