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For Release: Thursday, August 6, 2020

DEC Completes Construction of New Otisco Lake Boat Launch Site

Public Boat Launch Access Now Available at Each of 11 Finger Lakes

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that the new boat launch site on Otisco Lake is complete and open to the public. Prior to the launch's completion, Otisco was the only Finger Lake without a public boat launch. With this facility, boaters will have a new option to explore the region and its fishing and boating-related recreational opportunities.

"This modern facility offers parking for boat trailers and passenger vehicles and provides safe and convenient features accessible to visitors of all abilities," DEC Region 7 Director Matthew Marko said. "DEC is grateful to our local government partners, as well as the Otisco Lake community for their instrumental feedback to improve the site design."

The site is located at 1490 West Valley Road, Spafford, Onondaga County. Features that enhance access for visitors of all abilities include:

  • New concrete launch ramp and floating boarding dock to allow the launching of trailered motorboats even if water levels fluctuate;
  • Accessible-designated parking for one vehicle with trailer and one passenger vehicle; and
  • Wheelchair-accessible portable toilet.

Features that enhance site safety and access include:

  • Solar-powered safety lighting, down-lit to minimize light pollution;
  • Invasive species disposal bin;
  • Designated boat preparation area for safer and more efficient launching;
  • Paved parking area with separate entrance and exit that accommodates 13 vehicles with trailers and 13 single vehicles.

DEC recently celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and upgrades like the ones announced today demonstrate New York State's commitment to helping people with disabilities fully participate in and enjoy the benefits of DEC's facilities, services, programs, and activities. DEC funded the project with $599,740 through the Environmental Protection Fund and $22,260 through New York Works, for a total of $622,000. The new launch site complements the DEC Otisco Lake Fishing Access Site at the causeway, located approximately 200 yards to the north.

Town of Spafford Supervisor Christopher Kozub said, "I'm happy there will now be public boat access to Otisco. The new launch provides an opportunity for people to enjoy recreation on this beautiful lake and have more opportunities to take advantage of this top notch fishery."

Otisco Lake Preservation Association President Tim Creamer said, "On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank DEC for working closely with the community to design a safe, convenient, and accessible site for residents and visitors to enjoy the fishing, sunsets, and other magnificent qualities we love about Otisco Lake."

Otisco Lake is the most easterly of the 11 Finger Lakes and is eighth in size. It lies wholly within Onondaga county near the city of Syracuse. Tiger muskie provide a unique trophy and Otisco may be one of the best waters in the state for this fish. Walleye fishing is good during the spring, early summer, and fall. Otisco Lake supports a variety of other sportfish species including large and smallmouth bass, brown trout, bluegill, sunfish, and yellow perch. Current fishing information is available on DEC's Central New York Fishing Hotline.

DEC Fisheries management activities at Otisco Lake include the annual stocking of 11,000 tiger muskellunge fingerlings (9-10 inches long); the biennial stocking of 44,000 walleye pond fingerlings (1.5 inches long); and routine fish community assessments to evaluate stocking success and effectiveness of fisheries regulations. Onondaga County Hatchery also annually stocks approximately 2,500 2-year old brown trout (13 inches long).

DEC wants to remind anglers and boaters that they play a major role in helping to prevent the spread of invasive species, and responsible practices should be employed to help stop their spread. Following recommended guidelines such as properly cleaning, draining, and drying your boat and gear will lessen the likelihood of spreading invasive species and diseases and help protect this great resource for years to come.

During the State's ongoing response to COVID-19, New Yorkers across the state want and need to get outside for a nature break, which is good for physical and mental health. Before visiting Otisco Lake Boat Launch Site, take the PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL pledge, and promise to use common sense to protect yourself and others when enjoying the outdoors. The new campaign encourages all New Yorkers to recreate safely, responsibly, and locally this summer and to always treat fellow outdoor adventurers with respect.

The Otisco launch is just the latest project as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active, outdoor recreation; connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors; protect natural resources; and boost local economies. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative on DEC's website.

the new Otisco Lake Boat Launch sign A truck utilizes the boat launch to get a small boat in the water

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