Yenra : Boats : Boat Trailers : Rebuilt Newburgh Boat Launch Opens Saturday - State environmental funds improve Hudson River access

Boat Trailers

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner John P. Cahill today announced that the refurbished Newburgh Boat Launch on the Hudson River will open on Saturday. The $500,000 improvement project was funded through the State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) as part of Governor Pataki's strategy to improve access to the Hudson River.

Construction on the site -- also known as the Washington Street Boat Launch -- began in 1998 under an agreement with the City of Newburgh through which DEC paid for the construction of the free public access site. The city will maintain the facility.

Paving has not been fully completed at the site due to equipment malfunctions, and parking spaces have not been marked but boats can safely reach the launching ramp. The project will be completed next week.

DEC replaced the existing ramp with concrete and the deteriorated timber-crib shoreline bulkhead with steel sheet-pile and paved the parking lot. There is room for 35 cars and boat trailers and eight additional car-only spaces, including two handicapped accessible parking spaces.

In a separate agreement between DEC and Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp., the utility is paying for lighting that is being installed in the parking lot and open space acquisition along Quassick Creek to be conducted by the Orange County Land. The projects are part of a resolution of a DEC enforcement action involving air violations at Central Hudson's Danskammer and Roseton power plants on the Hudson River.

"Newburgh is a heavily used launch site that offers access to some of the best fishing in the river," Commissioner Cahill said. "The boat launch improvements will help meet the need for enhanced river access, which also is a priority for the Hudson as a federally designated American Heritage River."

Newburgh City Mayor Audrey Carey said, "This is a great day for Newburgh. Access to the river is a priority for the city, and this boat ramp was in terrible condition. People sometimes had to get their cars towed after using the old ramp because the boat trailers would get hung up on the end. One person had to have his transmission replaced. With the striped bass in the river now, this is a perfect time to reopen the ramp."

The Newburgh site is one of eight boat launches on the Hudson River to be constructed or upgraded as part of the Hudson River Estuary Management Action Plan. The plan was prepared by DEC and released by Governor Pataki in 1996.

The Hudson River Estuary Management Plan calls for the recovery of the river through the removal of contaminants, protection of water quality, restoration of critical habitats, conservation of open spaces, improved recreational access and revitalized economic development. Funding to implement the plan comes from the EPF and the 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act.