Public comments for: Amendment of Rules for Recreational Use of Water Supply Lands and Waters

Comments

Comment:
There are now 398 signatories to the Petition in Objection to the Proposed Changes to the DEP Recreation Rules as og Aug 1st 1100PM.
Agency: DEP
Comment:
Comment 7 - Transfer, Other Issues Transfers are GOOD, they are one way for someone to move his boat on to a new user, fostering access. To limit commercial turnovers, limit the permit holder to only a few transfers per year, or require that each boat be possessed for a year or 2 before allowing transfer. Transfers of at least several boats ought to be allowed to permitted family members, or at least offspring. This is a very emotional issues. Notarized Affadavits could be used to verify family membership. Eliminating Transfers is bad because it TRAPS boat owners in their boats. If you can't transfer sell, why sell at all? You have to hire a person and rent a truck to go down in the woods to remove a boat from the reservoir, which is now worth much less because its going home to be sold on CL off your lawn, a beat-up rock-dented jalopy that no one will want or at best brings a fraction of what it would bring on a reservoir site. The sale value of beat up post reservoir 12 footers is $300-350 and 14's is maybe $500-$550. After paying for truck and help, it's not worth it, causing some to just let it sit on the reservoir. THIS IS SELF DEFEATING BY THE DEP, WHICH NEEDS TO INCENTIVIZE TURNOVER, NOT MAKE IT HARDER OR MORE COSTLY. To incentivize "zombie boat" owners who never/rarely use their boats to relinquish them, DEP needs to stop making it so easy to "park and forget" boats. Unpopular thought, but I suggest a $25-$40 per year nuisance fee, administered every year to remind folks they have a price for keeping that boat there. That plus continuing to allow transfer sales, and trying on-site owner boat sale auctions, could motivate a lot of folks to think about it and let some boats go.
Agency: DEP
Comment:
COMMENT #6 (final comment re 10 Foot Rule) Objections/Thoughts regarding the 10 FOOT SHORELINE BOAT EXCLUSION 6. NEGATIVE IMPACT ON DEP WORKFLOW & RESOURCE ALLOCATION. This will be difficult to enforce, and I would imagine, hard on all concerned. Scores of boats would likely need to get pulled. Some examples of issues: Many users will perhaps “not get the message” about the new rule(s), “I didn’t even know about the new rule”, “Why didn’t you send me a letter or email?” People will argue about whether their boat was 11 feet from shore vs 10 ft vs 9 ft, or where the true high water mark actually is, which might be open to individual interpretation. Others might argue about whether part of the boat was ok, and only part too close, and how much matters, is it ok if just half the boat is outside 10 feet, or all of it? And then there might be the blaming the other guy approach - “I had it 10 ft away, someone else shoved it into violation”. Or worse - and someone actually said this at the Carmel hearing - someone pushes your boat into violation so it will be pulled by DEP, so that they can take your spot. Yikes. This would seem likely to both really aggravate the boat owners, but also put the DEP field staff behind the 8 ball. Think of the literally hundreds of angry boat owners coming to Mahopac (or upstate) to reclaim their boats that were pulled for being near shore, not to mention how unhappy people will be to lose their cherished water's edge, manageable-access spots. Given all the priorities and projects DEP might invest staff time and resources in, is this what DEP admin wants its staff to be spending their time doing? Dealing with this? How about better trash removal, demarcation and enforcement of clearcut boat launch pathways at water's edge on EOH sites, enforcement by callups or removal on guys who block communal pathways... IN SUMMARY REGARDING THE "10 FOOT SHORELINE BOAT EXCLUSION" PROPOSAL It seems to me that the 10 Foot Buffer Zone proposal is a poorly conceived and ultimately self-defeating idea, that may not achieve in practice the stated environmental benefit of improved shoreline protection (and paradoxically may have the effect of increasing degradation of shoreline by removing the protective presence of boat hulls and exposing site shorelines to widespread random walking/trampling/launching along their entire shoreline length), while at a human level poses the risk of unleashing intense user conflicts, complaints to DEP field office staff, an epic demand on DEP field staff time, a groundswell of negative publicity for DEP administration, and perhaps active consideration of legal implications of the negative impact on older users. With all respect and appreciation to NY State, NYC and DEP for being able to use this wonderful resource, I sincerely hope DEP will strike this proposed rule change. Thank you for reading.
Agency: DEP
Comment:
COMMENT #5 (of several) Objections/Thoughts regarding the 10 FOOT SHORELINE BOAT EXCLUSION 5. NEGATIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR DEP. SELF-DEFEATING OPPOSITE IMPACT OF DEP’S STATED GOAL OF IMPROVING RELATIONS BETWEEN DEP AND THIS USER GROUP. 100% of attendees at the Carmel NY hearing voted against the 10 Foot Rule (and also the no-transfer in closed sites provision), and I’d estimate somewhere between 70 and 100 attendees. 100%! As another commenter mentioned, going with this rule would be like having the candidate with no votes win the election... We have a petition with nearly 400 signatures as of 7/31, and these are just the users who happen to be so very engaged that they heard about this on very short notice – within several weeks of announcement, without email notification or letters of notice of proposed changes, just word of mouth. How many more users/owners would sign the petition or agree with these comments if they knew of the proposed changes? How many of users/owners of the 12,000 boats out there will react negatively when a third to a half of them having shoreline boats will be told they have to move them back or lose them? I’m estimating shoreline boats as being at least a third of all boats at most sites. A third of 12,000 boats is 4,000 boats. Are you really planning to ask the owners of 4,000 boats to move them back? No offense, but to again paraphrase the gentleman at the hearing, “if you wanted to really stir up a hornet’s nest with this user group, this (and a total abolition of all boat transfers on closed sites) would be a very good way”.
Agency: DEP
Comment:
COMMENT #4 (of several) Objections/Thoughts regarding the 10 FOOT SHORELINE BOAT EXCLUSION 4. DIFFERENTIALLY “DISCRIMINATES” AGAINST OLDER USERS. While DEP makes no representations for handicapped access, it strikes many of us that this rule change would negatively disadvantage older users who have become less strong and agile as they have aged. I don’t know if “AGE DISCRIMINATION” is a viable legal concept of any relevance here, but I’m not interested in a lawsuit, just a reasonable preservation of my/our ability to ACCESS and enjoy the resource that I/we were implicitly promised to be able to use. I got my boats under the implied representations from DEP consisting of their rules at the time, including that folks could put a boat at the water’s edge. I invested in that scenario, spent money, time, lost wages, got excited, am enjoying fishing, am grateful, but its not clear how “usable” my boats will continue to be if I end up far from shore. Eventually, sooner or later, I won't be able to handle the long distance drag. And there are other older gents who would currently already be at that point - de facto deprived of access by imposition of unmanageable distance/obstacles. It would feel disappointing and frustrating at best, if not perhaps a bit unfair, to have the carpet pulled out from under our feet, although I do acknowledge DEP’s right to manage the resource as it sees fit. As many of us did, over a period of years I searched for open spots by the water, I showed up first in line on DEP office opening day, I watched and took water’s edge spots when other’s boats were removed, and eventually I eked out some boats at water’s edge, boats I could count on being able to handle in coming years as I “age out”. If we have to move “back” from water’s edge, it WON’T BE TO 11 FEET. IT WILL BE TO 40 FEET OR SO, BECAUSE EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN WILL ALREADY BE TAKEN. IF SUCH A MOVE IS EVEN POSSIBLE, depending as I said above, on the site terrain. At least, that seems likely. Don’t mean to “whine” – as you heard at the hearing and see in the comments, this is an important issue for many of us, all the more so with each passing year. Would DEP consider grandfathering in the users who have water’s edge spots, and initiate this restriction only on new boat permits, while maybe – this is a separate recommendation – in the meanwhile simultaneously working to build handicapped access sites on more of the reservoirs to meet the needs of older fisherman in that more direct manner? I’ve heard there is one on Rondout – good news!
Agency: DEP
Comment:
COMMENT #3 (of several) Objections/Thoughts regarding the 10 FOOT SHORELINE BOAT EXCLUSION 3. SELF-DEFEATING OPPOSITE IMPACT OF DEP’S STATED GOAL OF REDUCING USER CONFLICTS. Asking upwards of one third to one half of all boat owners at each site to vacate their cherished water’s edge boat spots will likely ignite conflicts between users as they jockey for new positions in areas where the pickings are slim to none. Call it Armageddon in the Woods, Darwinian Struggle for Spot Survival, Tin Can Chaos, or just A Real Bad Idea, implementing this rule change would likely lead to a great deal of USER ON USER CONFLICT. Its been my observation that not all members of the rowboat fishing fraternity are good at taking into consideration the needs of their neighbors when positioning their boats. Ahem. Spot-getting has already felt “challenging” and “competitive” at EOH spots, to put it politely. Unleash a requirement to relocate 40% of all boats, back it up with a threat of boat seizure, and you’ve got a formula for disaster. As someone at the hearing put it, “if you WANTED to create the maximum amount of CHAOS at the sites, you couldn’t come up with a better way to do it”. Result? My guess: lots of complaint calls to DEP staff who will be overwhelmed by fielding angry calls and complaints and asking for interventions, DEP field staff making enforcement decisions about removals and doing lots and lots of removals, dealing with angry users coming to reclaim their boats at DEP office grounds, and in the woods, who knows, maybe blocked paths or even vandalism or open confrontation - I would hope not but I've heard stories, its apparently happened under calmer circumstances. Not to mention calls to the police, DEP administrative offices, etc. Just guessing.... :) In other words, Fishing Nirvana turned into Boat Spot Meltdown. Reduced User Conflicts?
Agency: DEP
Comment:
COMMENT #2 (see below for prior) OBJECTIONS/Thoughts regarding 10 Foot Buffer Zone proposal 2. FALSE BUFFER PROTECTION ASSUMPTION BY DEP? REMOVAL OF WATER’S EDGE BOATS COULD BE WORSE FOR THE SHORELINE, NOT BETTER? It strikes me that HAVING BOATS ALL ALONG THE SHORELINE MAY PREVENT DAMAGE TO THE SHORELINE by keeping people from tromping over long stretches of the shoreline edge, de facto protecting it, because the boats and the trees at water’s edge are in the way, serving as a kind of barricade. I imagine the DEP assumption is that boat launching from all along the water’s edge (within the boat site) is bad for the shoreline. Well please consider this: we all agree that many boats are rarely used, so ironically, rarely used boats left in place at the water’s edge are de facto functioning like a sort of blockade protecting the shoreline under and adjacent to them from being walked on. Conversely, if DEP moves all boats back 10 feet, there may be two unintended consequences that would paradoxically work against the goal of protecting the shoreline: 2(a) people would then be free to walk all along the water’s edge, up and down the shoreline, REPEATEDLY STEPPING ON AND DEGRADING THE EDGE OF THE EMBANKMENT EACH TIME they did so, stepping into and out of the water, wading, shore fishing, etc. -- potentially doing more harm than occurred when boat owner’s in many instances ONLY VERY RARELY launched their boats. As it stands now, you can’t walk along most of the water’s edge because it’s totally abutted by rowboats, protecting the bank’s edge! 2(b) Due to the limited (or absent) availability of “boat launch OPENINGS/LANES at water’s edge” that I have witnessed at many EOH sites, if under this proposal all boats were removed from the shoreline, boat launchers would be free to choose any spot along the length of the shoreline to enter. E.g., someone launching his boat far from an open launching lane would be tempted to “take the shortest distance to the water” and just “crash forward” rather than drag his boat 50 feet horizontally along the shoreline to an open launch lane. If many active boat users did this over time, randomly varying in where they launched, MUCH MORE OF THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE SHORELINE could be exposed to degradation, and could end up being “more beaten up” by the impact of just a small set of very active users, than would ever have occurred under current circumstances. In effect, removal of all boats from water’s edge renders the entire waterfront a “wide open launch zone” and potentially much more of the waterfront could end up degraded by active boat launching activity than occurs currently with many boats rarely being used (a separate problem). Ironic, but possibly true – rarely used boats at water’s edge, intended for regular use but actually used infrequently, might be a better protection of the shoreline zone than clearing the area of all boats.
Agency: DEP
Comment:
COMMENT #1 OF SEVERAL First of all, a heartfelt thanks to NY state, NYC, NY Fisheries, and the legion of folks at the DEP who work to make fishing access available on such beautiful, tranquil reservoirs containing truly remarkable, world class fishing opportunities. I offer the following comments in a spirit of gratitude and respect, and also with a willingness to do my share to “pitch in” in future years to help protect and preserve this precious resource. I apologize to the reader, brevity is not my strong suit – I will need to submit this in multiple installments. Objections/Thoughts regarding the 10 FOOT SHORELINE BOAT EXCLUSION 1. NO MORE ROOM. Everyone is making this point. Because its TRUE. Due to extreme overcrowding, steep/hilly or otherwise difficult terrain, presence of dense forest or boulders or large deadfall treetrunks, this will be IMPOSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE AT SOME SITES, EXTREMELY DIFFICULT AT OTHERS, at least at most EOH sites (though the north shore/dam end of Rondout also has some of the most difficult sites I’ve seen). As others have stated, there is no more room. Period. Those of us who are users, and who have walked most of the EOH sites, know this from firsthand experience. Some users wonder if the DEP folks suggesting this rule change have perhaps literally not walked a mile in our shoes.
Agency: DEP
Comment:
I am against the proposed rules set forth by NYCDEP in regards to the 10ft rule of storing boats from the shoreline as well as the limitations proposed on boat transfers for reasons that have been discussed during the public hearing.
Agency: DEP
Comment:
I would like to comment on the proposed changes to boat transfers and the 10' setback for boats on reservoirs. While I'm happy with the current rules, if the DEP feels there are problems with the boat transfer system, I would urge you to make incremental changes to the system rather than abolish the transfer of boats within closed areas entirely. To reduce the burden of excessive transfers, you could impose limits on the number of transfers an individual is allowed (such as one per year), and restrict the ability of permit holders to sell newly placed boats on closed reservoirs for a period of time ( five years, for example). These provisions would dramatically reduce the number of transfers (especially anyone seeking to put a boat on a closed reservoir for the sole purpose of reselling it), while still allowing legitimate transfers, such as among family members and friends. If you do enact the transfer prohibition, how would fishing clubs which own multiple boats (but are required to have them registered in an individual's name) move the registration among club members? Secondly, I strongly urge the DEP to keep the existing rules regarding allowed setback of boats from the high water mark. Forcing all boats to be more than ten feet from the water would be completely unworkable on most EOH reservoirs, which are already very crowded. It would create chaos, forcing longtime fishermen (typically older and less physically able) to move their boats several rows back in many cases, if there it is even possible. Some boat areas, such as Sodom area 5 would essentially have to be closed for lack of space between the high water mark and the road. The proposed changes would also likely worsen erosion, causing people to drag boats further over more ground and damaging vegetation. As a Watershed Steward and regular fisherman/boater on many of the NYC reservoirs, I would urge you to reconsider these proposed changes.
Agency: DEP

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