The Wilderness

The confluence of clean water, biodiversity, and the great outdoors.

Port Jervis Reservoir •  Photo by Kevin Kreischer

Port Jervis Watershed Park

A source of clean drinking water for Port Jervis residents and nature-based recreation for the public, the Port Jervis Watershed Park has proven to be a community asset for Port and neighboring communities.

The Park’s extensive system of hiking and biking trails cover over 50 miles; all of which are maintained by the dedicated volunteers of the Outdoor Club of Port Jervis. The deep forest, wetlands, and pristine habitats that buffer these reservoirs filter and protect the water; ensuring the continuous flow of clean water from faucets.

Given the City of Port Jervis’s proximity and accessibility to the Watershed Park and the Delaware River, as well as the Neversink, Mongaup, Basher Kill, and Wildlife Management Areas bearing their names; the City of Port Jervis has the potential to become the crown jewel of the Upper Delaware River Region as the premier destination for outdoor recreation.

Delaware River • Photo by Kevin Kreischer

Delaware River

This historic waterway continues to live up to its “Wild and Scenic” designation from the National Parks Service. The Upper Delaware River is a prime outdoor recreational resource for Port Jervis and other communities. The famed river also provides clean drinking water to countless municipalities downstream in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

As Allen Crouthamel, owner of Orange County-based Silver Canoe and Whitewater Rafting puts it: “People come here from the city and suburbs to get out in nature and enjoy the river. This company wouldn’t be able to thrive without the protection of the natural resources we depend on to attract visitors and locals alike.”

The Bridge #2 river access in Sparrowbush has long provided locals with an opportunity to launch boats, fish, catch a glimpse of bald eagles in flight, and the simple, but rewarding act of doing nothing other than taking it all in. Just like the Delaware River tributaries, the Neversink and Mongaup Rivers, smaller tributaries like the Shingle Kill also play an integral role in maintaining water quality and contributing to the growing outdoor tourism boom

Neversink Gorge •  Photo by Gerald Berliner

Neversink River

The iconic Neversink River is a main tributary of the Delaware River in New York. The river enters Orange County just south of the Neversink Unique Area in the Town of Deerpark. From there, the Neversink flows southward through rugged terrain before merging with the Basher Kill, where it turns westward as it makes its final journey before entering the Delaware River in Port Jervis. A prized trout stream, the Neversink is the subject of many fishing guides and books. The Nature Conservancy calls it the “birthplace of American dry-fly fishing” because of its connection to fly-fishing pioneer, Theodore Gordon, who learned to master his technique in these waters.

In addition, The Nature Conservancy named the Neversink River as one of the 75 “Last Great Places” in the United States, Latin America and the Pacific. Gold Creek, a Neversink River tributary that also traverses the Town of Deerpark, is one of several feeder streams that contribute to the health of the river.

Like the Delaware River, the Neversink River is also home to migrating fish species like eels and shad, as well as a federally endangered freshwater mussel. Portions of the river contain small populations of native trout and a larger population of wild trout. As such, the DEC manages these river sections as “Catch and release only” with additional restrictions to ensure these trout species continue to thrive. In addition, the stretch of river located within the Neversink Unique Area in Sullivan County features an idyllic gorge with several waterfalls that are accessible to hikers.

Mongaup River •  Photo by Kevin Kreischer

Mongaup River

Another main tributary of the Delaware River in New York, the Mongaup River spans approximately 3 miles from the Rio Reservoir dam until it reaches its confluence with the Delaware River in Sparrowbush. A Class II/III river, the Mongaup offers some of the best whitewater rapids in the Delaware River watershed. During dam releases from the Rio Reservoir, thrill seekers from across the region descend upon the Mongaup by canoe, kayak, and raft to experience the whitewater flows.

Nearby, the Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area (WMA) offers hiking, boating, birding, fishing, and hunting opportunities for the public. This WMA is also a designated Bird Conservation Area, as the land comprises a unique combination of habitats important to bird species, including forests, reservoirs, and river habitat.

Learn more, click here.

Bashakill •  Photo by Gerald Berliner

Basher Kill

The Basher Kill is a tributary of the Neversink River that originates in Sullivan County and flows through the Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) until it crosses the border into Orange County in the Town of Deerpark. Its connection with the Bashakill wetlands, the largest freshwater wetland in southeastern New York, makes it an important part of this significant wetland complex. The WMA is a designated Bird Conservation Area because of its diversity of migrating bird and waterfowl species, making it a hot spot for birders and wildlife enthusiasts. If a serene paddling trip or casting a line is more of your style, the WMA is also open to the public for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and other activities.

Learn more, click here.

For information about guided hikes and outings, visit the Basha Kill Area Association website, click here.