NYCkayaker boathouses on the Hudson river in NYC

ralph diaz
Thu Nov 2 14:37:42 EST 2006

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Erik Baard" <>

> Permits are getting more expensive each year, which is also a limiting
> factor.

When the permit system started in the late 1980s, NYC Parks charged just two
bucks a season.  It was kind of nutty going to one of the Parks offices,
lining up with people seeking tennis permits at $30-50 and requiring photos
for IDs, etc. When you reached the permit window with your kayak permit
application in hand, the clerk would look dumbfounded. He or she would ask
someone else what this was all about and the other person would say
something like "We have permits for kayaking?"  Then the person would look
it up and remark,   "Hum, says the fee is $2. Take the application, look
over in filing cabinet B and pick out one of those blue permit cards, have
him indicate on the permit card what kayaks he wants to cover. If it's a
group permit for a club it is still just $2, get a list of all of their

Last I remember, the permit was up to $20 or $25.  Too bad.

Joy Hecht wrote:
>>Though I suspect, Ralph, that you couldn't even reap where you did sew.
Sewing does not usually lead to plant growth.  In my experience it leads to
buttons being attached, jeans hemmed, and occasionally new clothing.
Now sowing, on the other hand... <<

Gee, Joy, I am surprised you didn't recognize "sew" as the Old English
conditional subjunctive form of the verb "sow" albeit it is archaic usage.

And David Gottlieb wrote:
>>A simple sign up sheet at the NYC public launch sites, such as they have
hiking trails and at free boat put-ins all across the Adirondacks, would
give the city a more accurate count of the number of paddlers using the
waterways. This would eliminate the need for a cumbersome permit system
which most paddlers will not take the time to get. Signs alerting the public
to dangers of paddling without proper gear, skills, clothing, etc could be
put next to the put-ins.<<

The NYC Parks lawyers wanted to cover the city's ass in what is considered a
risky activity.  The permit system requires you to sign an application
saying you know of the risks indicated in the attached document.  Some one
with a permit using the launch site assumes the risk.  Someone without a
permit using the launch site is being illegal.  I don't want to get into the
power of a waiver and whether being in effect a trespasser increases your
own liability.  It seemed to satisfy the lawyers and was the only way NYC
Parks would put in the launch sites.  The DTBH has a waiver agreement as
does any kayak touring or instruction business.  So do hiking clubs that
organize hikes.

No one is actually blocking your use of the NYC Parks sites.  There are no
cops or park employees acting as gate keepers.  Have you ever tried using
one of the sites and been kept from accessing the water?  BTW, you can't
launch kayaks from the shores of NY state parks, period, unless paddling is
permitted in that specific park and then only at designated boating launch
sites.  So you do not have a right just to launch anywhere you want in state
parks.  As for municipalities they also restrict access, at least on paper,
unless they state specifically otherwise at some specific location.

David, BTW I noticed from an earlier post of yours that you served on a NYC
community board for some 10 years.  That is an automatic nomination for
sainthood. :-)

ralph diaz

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