With more than 135,000 acres of land and water open for recreation, we are eager to share our slice of nature with watershed residents and visitors. More than half of these lands are open to recreation without a permit, but recreation on the reservoirs and some lands require a DEP Access Permit.
Use our maps to to find City-owned properties and understand the types of recreation that are permitted in each area:
DEP Access Permit
A DEP Access Permit is required on all City-owned recreational lands that are posted with “Entry by Permit” signs. City-owned lands that are immediately adjacent to reservoirs and open for recreation also require a DEP Access Permit. It is important that all recreational users verify the designated uses of City-owned lands because these designations may vary.
You can use our Access Permit System to apply for, renew, or update an Access Permit. Children under 16 do not need an Access Permit if they are accompanied by a permit holder over the age of 18. Permits are valid for five years.
Non-US/Canadian citizens, minors, or those without an e-mail address, should print and fill out the paper application. Minors from 12–18 that would like to use City lands without the presence of an adult will need a signature from a parent or guardian.
If you already have a DEP Access Permit and your information changes, you can update it using the Access Permit System or fill out the form.
A Guest Pass is required for any person over 16 years of age who will temporarily be using Water Supply lands that require a DEP Access Permit. When using Water Supply lands, the guest must be accompanied by an Access Permit holder over 18 years of age at all times. A Guest Pass is valid for 7 consecutive days.
To obtain a guest pass, download the Guest Past Application Form, fill it in, and carry it with you while recreating in areas that require a DEP Access Permit.
For more information and answers to commonly asked questions about DEP Access Permits, please visit DEP Access Permit FAQs.
Before heading out, be sure to familiarize yourself with the various types of Watershed Recreation Signs posted on City-owned land. Please also visit Boating, Fishing, Hiking, and Hunting & Trapping for activity specific information and any additional permit requirements.
DEP continuously tests water quality to ensure that none of the recreational activities has an adverse effect on New York City’s drinking water supply. The recreation rules are set in place to further City’s goal of safeguarding an adequate supply of high quality drinking water while allowing compatible recreational use and enjoyment. Download the Rules for the Recreational Use of Water Supply Lands and Water.
We are updating the existing rules that govern recreational use of our water supply lands and reservoirs. Proposed rules were made available to the public for comments in July 2018. Revisions to the proposed rules will be announced soon.
Outdoor Guide Services
DEP issues free permits for New York State Certified Outdoor Guides to operate on New York City water supply lands and reservoirs that are open for recreation. For more information, visit New York State Outdoor Guide Service Association. If you are a New York State Certified Guide and wish to learn more about applying for the guide service permit, please contact 1-800-575-LAND (5263) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about recreation in the watershed, please reach out to us at email@example.com.