KINGSTON – State and local officials celebrated Earth Day weekend on Friday with the opening of the new Lower Esopus Fishing and Canoe Access, located off of Washington Avenue in the City of Kingston.
Fishing was free for the opening day of the new pier
Kingston Mayor Steven Noble said the new access point, which is located on a former residential property that previously made the creek inaccessible, will be a huge benefit for both the residents of the Town of Ulster and City of Kingston who want to visit the Esopus.
“There has been historically, on this section of the creek, no real, true public access,” said Noble. “Often times, people would make their own way down to the creek, often in very steep terrain and at least in this section of the creek, in the Kingston/Ulster area, it was almost impossible to access the creek. So, this will, I believe, really improve access and it was designed in a way to withstand any future flooding that may occur on the Esopus.”
State Environmental Conservation Regional Director Martin Brand said the goal of this new access point is to bring people back in touch with the nature and to let them enjoy the diverse benefits of the Lower Esopus conveniently, located close to their urban center.
“In some cases, in some areas in the Lower Esopus, that connection has been broken over the years, whether through development or, just lack of infrastructure,” said Brand. “So, this is a way to connect people to the Esopus so they can actually get out here and realize what a treasure they have in their own backyards. We’re literally in the backyard here of people in the town and the city and this will just bring people out so they can enjoy it.”
On the pier’s opening day, Friday, free fishing was offered and the DEC supplied rod, tackle, bait and expert tips from their biology experts.
DEC Aquatic Biologist Ryan Colter was available, on site, throughout the afternoon to tell boaters and fishers alike about the local aquatic life and how to, hopefully, catch some of it.
“Today we’re fishing you’re very simple bobber and small hook rig with a night crawler, fishing for the smaller fish or, other folks targeting bass and other species, could come down here with a minnow rig,” Colter said. “Or, if they’re fishing for catfish, maybe fish on the bottom with something. So, there’s a whole bunch of different species to catch and different ways to catch them.”
Five-year-old Aiden was the first of many people to catch a fish. “It was hard to reel in; it was fun here.”