Members of the Canyon Lake Boat Ramps Community Alliance (CLBRCA) aren’t too pleased with Comal County commissioners.
“Disappointed” is their official reaction to news that Commissioners Court is unlikely to consider a temporary order or complete rewrite of the ‘Use of County Boat Ramps’ order from 1994 that would allow non-motorized watercraft like kayaks to temporarily launch from closed county boat ramps # 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 11, 22 and 23 during the busy summer months.
Doug Leecock, who spearheads the CLBRCA and also is running to replace Pct. 1 Commissioner Donna Eccleston in 2024, said members of the alliance met with Krause today and were told it was unlikely to have an update to the regulations applying to closed ramps.
“Obviously we’re disappointed about it, we thought that would be a great thing for all of the people that utilize these county ramps,” he said.
Long lines to launch and recover motorized watercraft make it difficult for kayakers to use Boat Ramp #6, the only county ramp that remains open. Also adversely impacted by the court’s inactivity are stand-up paddleboarders and recreationalists who use other types of light watercraft that didn’t exist when Comal County drafted its first interlocal agreement in 1994.
Clint Hopkins with Kayak Anglers of San Antonio (KASA) said overcrowding concerns at Canyon Lake forced his group to back out of plans to host its 8th Annual 2023 KASA Kiddie Pole Tournament at Canyon Lake. The Aug. 5 fundraiser for the Fin Addict Angler Foundation was moved to the lake in Kerrville-Schreiner Park in Kerrville instead.
He said kayakers can’t wait several hours to load and/or recover their watercraft from Boat Ramp #6.
“There’s too few ramps and too many kayaks,” Hopkins said, adding he’s almost been hit by several boats.
But there’s another reason CLBRCA wants commissioners to let non-motorized watercraft launch at closed ramps.
The Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD) — which contracts with the county to provide dumpsters, port-a-potties and law enforcement at boat ramps through Oct. 31– doesn’t have to provide any of these vital services at closed boat ramps.
As a result, there’s utter chaos at the county’s closed ramps. Even though it’s illegal to park or swim at these ramps, thousands of people with nowhere else to go are tearing down barricades and showing up to barbecue, sunbathe, hang out, and party.
Excursion companies that make their living getting tourists on and off the lake are also using these ramps like their private parking lots even at closed ramps that don’t have docks, Leecock said.
But not all is gloom-and-doom at CLBRCA, which got off the ground in 2020 after Eccleston stirred up a hornet’s nest by asking the court to remove the words “free public access” and “free public use” from an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
The group helped the county draft a long-awaited Comal County Boat Ramps Operation Plan in February 2022, and much of that effort is finally coming to fruition.
Groundbreaking for a complete do-over at Boat Ramp #22 is scheduled for July 5. A survey to firm up boundaries at Boat Ramp #8 has been completed and CLBRCA will share more informaton in the near future. The group also is waiting for approval from USACE regarding plans for boat ramps #2, 5 and 5.
Leecock, who witnessed a drowning over the July 4 holiday last year, said he hopes these measures will begin to address the issues many residents have expressed to CLBRCA about Canyon Lake’s overcrowded boat ramps.
CLBRCA asks the public to call or email their county commissioners if they would like to see a temporary order issued.
- Pct. 1 (Canyon Lake) Commissioner Donna Eccleston: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 830-221-1101
- Pct. 4 (Canyon Lake) Commissioner Jen Crownover, JenCrownover@MyComalCounty.com or call 830-221-1104