OLIVE — The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was joined on July 17 by its partners from the Catskill Mountain Club and the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program to officially open the Ashokan Quarry Trail. The new hiking trail in the Town of Olive runs 2 miles through the former Yale Quarry, which provided stone for the construction of Ashokan Reservoir in the early 1900s. Visitors can access the trail through a dedicated parking lot on Route 28A, a short distance west of the Olivebridge Dam. The trail features an easy hike that passes through the former quarry, including remnants of a rail-car loading zone and machinery that was used to load the stone. It also traverses forested lands, vernal pools, and an open ledge with sweeping mountain views to the north and west. The trail is located on lands preserved by DEP. It was constructed, and will be maintained, by volunteers from the Catskill Mountain Club. The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program provided funding for signs that educate visitors about the history of the site and the natural features along the trail. More information about the Ashokan Quarry Trail can be found at https://catskillmountainclub.org/events/where-to-go/ashokan-quarry-trail/.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality water each day to more than 9.6 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and other professionals in the watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $168.9 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs — including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with $20.1 billion in investments planned over the next decade that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.