DEC Issues Updated Regulations for Visitors to Peekamoose Blue Hole and Rondout Creek Area in Sundown Wild Forest

Last updated: May 15, 2021

New Regulations Promote Sustainable Visitation at Popular Catskills Destination

Permits Now Required Seven Days a Week May 15 through Sept. 15

From the NYSDEC Press Release on 5/14/2021:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released updated regulations for visitors to the Peekamoose Blue Hole and nearby Rondout Creek area in the Sundown Wild Forest, town of Denning, Ulster County. DEC issued the new regulations as part of an ongoing effort to protect this resource and promote sustainable use. The regulations will help improve public safety and reduce environmental impacts in the area.

A map showing the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor where permits will be required every day from May 15th through September 15th.

“This expanded permit system for the Peekamoose Blue Hole and Rondout Creek area will both protect public safety and the environmental health of this unique and irreplaceable resource,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “To protect this special place for future generations of New Yorkers and promote more sustainable use at this location, the expanded permit system will help ensure an enjoyable experience for visitors.”

The updated regulations will expand the current permit system for this location and require a permit seven days a week, including holidays, from May 15 through Sept. 15. The permits will be required for all visitors to the Peekamoose Blue Hole and the nearby corridor along the Rondout Creek, including campers, picnickers, hikers, and anglers. The updated regulations:

  • Require visitors to obtain a permit for a $10 fee through Reserve America, consistent with fees for other recreation-oriented Day Use areas in the Forest Preserve;
  • Limit parking to designated parking areas only. Each permit will be linked to a vehicle, and the permit must be displayed on/in the vehicle;
  • Permits must list the names of all members of the visiting party when making the reservation. Names can be changed up to one day in advance;
  • Prohibit alcohol and coolers larger than 12″ in any dimension at the Blue Hole. Limited use will be allowed at nearby designated camping areas only; and
  • Camping permits are now required to reserve primitive tent sites in the Lower, Middle, and Upper fields. Visit Reserve America’s website to make a reservation.

The expanded regulations for the Peekamoose Blue Hole and Rondout Creek area complement existing regulations. The Blue Hole is open to the public from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset, except for designated camp sites nearby, and users are required to use portable restroom facilities for human waste disposal and the dumpster for all other waste. In addition, the following activities and items are prohibited (with limited use allowed at the nearby designated camping area only):

  • Camping
  • All fires (including charcoal fires, wood fires, gas grills, propane stoves or other portable stoves)
  • Use of portable generators
  • Glass containers
  • Radios and other audio devices

“I appreciate the Department’s efforts to preserve and protect the Peekamoose Blue Hole and Rondout Creek area,” said Senator Mike Martucci. “The Expanded permit system will continue to allow for a great experience for visitors while furthering the goal of making sure this unique natural resource will have longevity. My thanks to Commissioner Seggos and his staff for a job well done.”

Assemblyman Brian Miller said, “Outdoor recreation, like camping, hiking and fishing offered in the Sundown Wild Forest at Peekamoose Blue Hole and Rondout Creek, has greatly increased in popularity in recent years. While this is wonderful news for rural tourism and the health of New Yorkers, it is also causing overuse of some of our more popular wild places. Having personally toured Peekamoose Blue Hole myself, I believe we can promote sustainable use, while protecting our environment and still allowing people to get out there and enjoy it – and I believe this plan will help accomplish those goals.”

“Ulster County is happy to work with DEC to make our outdoor recreation lands safer for all visitors to enjoy,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. “The revisions to the regulations for the Peekamoose Blue Hole Corridor, located in the Town of Denning, will do just that while also protecting the natural environment of this popular spot in the Catskills.”

“The Town of Denning is in support of these emergency regulations, for the Peekamoose Riparian Corridor, as the Town believes, it will aid in the safeguarding of our residents and visitors, alike, while enhancing our visitors experience.” said Denning Town Supervisor David Brooks.

Catskill Center Executive Director Jeff Senterman said, “We appreciate the thoughtful and measured response to high-use in the Peekamoose Valley Corridor. The Catskill Center has been a close partner with the DEC since the inception of a permit system for the Blue Hole, staffing the area with our full-time Catskill Stewards to help educate and inform visitors to the Blue Hole on how to recreate responsibly, and to help the DEC implement the permitting system. We look forward to an even stronger partnership this year, with more Stewards on site 7-days a week, as we all work to ensure public access, while protecting the Catskill Park’s unique natural resources.”

Visitors to the area are advised that parking along the shoulder of the road is prohibited by the town and is a tow-away zone. Visitors can find out more information on these and other destinations in the Catskills by visiting the Catskills Visitors Center at 5096 Route 28 in Mt. Tremper, NY, calling (845) 688 -3369, or visiting theĀ Catskills Visitors Center website.

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