Canyon Lake will be a hot mess over Spring Break.
Due to extended drought, most boat ramps are closed. The popular Overlook, Comal and Canyon parks — the easiest way to “get on the water” — fill up quickly and close at capacity.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which owns the land around the lake but leases some of it out to Comal County, is bracing for the onslaught of recreationalists by issuing strict warnings and asking the public to behave with “respect and dignity.”
Worst of all, there are not enough port-a-potties and trash bins for the public to use, except in WORD parks, and human feces and wadded-up diapers are common sights around the lake.
The Water Oriented Recreation District of Canyon Lake (WORDCC), which manages county-operated ramps, does not typically provide dumpsters and toilets until the beginning of the summer season.
“WORD of Comal County provides services as determined by need for all open Comal County-managed boat ramps,” said Lynette Kitchen, Operations manager.
WORD declined to specify exactly what visitors might expect at ramps it operates but already is asking community members to sign up to “Keep Canyon Lake Beautiful” by volunteering to pick up trash from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 25.
Kitchen did not confirm whether WORD plans to provide additional law enforcement at its parks and boat ramps.
But resident Doug Leecock, who recently announced his candidacy for Comal County Pct. 1 commissioner and is working to bring clarity to issues at boat ramps through the Canyon Lake Boat Ramps Community Alliance, warns visitors to just assume that if a boat ramp is closed there will be no dumpsters or restroom facilities available to the public.
Theoretically, this shouldn’t be a problem since it also is illegal to park at or swim around closed boat ramps. The few that are open are open can only be used for launching and recovering watercraft.
USACE spokesperson Clay Church said serious past problems at the parks and ramps the Corps operates include:
- Parking in non-designated areas. This results in limited access to facilities by staff and emergency responders and hinders public and life safety.
- Lack of compliance with safe boating and water-safety guidelines.
- Vandalism. Church said “large amounts” of vandalism to recreational and security areas result in expending limited resources to replace damaged and broken equipment.
- Environmental stewardship neglect. Natural resources are destroyed by visitors who don’t practice sound environmental stewardship. Examples include unauthorized vehicle use in unauthorized areas and destroying vegetation.
- Unsanitary actions while in and around the water and park areas.
To check the realtime status of Comal and Canyon parks, visit Facebook pages maintained by WORD.
Boat ramp status as of March 9:
Boat Ramp #2 is closed. Boat Ramp #8 is closed. Boat Ramp #5 is closed. Ramp #7 is closed. Ramp #22 is closed. Ramp #23 is closed. Ramp #11 is closed. Ramp #3 is closed. Boat Ramp #4 is closed. Boat Ramp #10 is closed.
Boat Ramp #1 reopened on March 10 and will be open through Spring Break.
Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) Rec Park at Canyon Lake boat ramps #14 and #16 are closed. Water levels at #15 are very low and the ramp is expected to close in the near future.
The lake is not being stewarded well by word or usace!
I am so disappointed with your article. I’ve had family here this week and they absolutely have loved the beauty of lake, river and surrounding trails. this article was unbalanced in every way possible. How could you have not done more of a pro/con approach? I’m not recommending this site again for updates / info in our beautiful area.
I agree with Jody!