The two county commissioners who represent Canyon Lake on Comal County Commissioners Court issued a rare joint statement today asking residents to complete an online community survey about the nine county-operated boat ramps surrounding Canyon Lake.
The survey will be posted on MyComalCounty.com, the county’s website, and on county social media sites at 8 a.m. Friday, Feb. 25. It will stay live for two weeks.
The county said the purpose of the survey is to help county officials better understand community concerns and issues related to county-operated boat ramps. Data collected by the survey also will be used to develop solutions for those who use them as well as the residents who live around them.
“As we have grown, we have experienced a change in the use and behavior of our boat ramps during certain times of year,” said Pct. 1 Commissioner Donna Eccleston, who kicked off a controversy about how boat ramps are managed in June 2021 by proposing the words “free public access” and “free public use” be removed from an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“The boat ramps represent a significant investment through the years by Comal County,” she said. “Please take a moment to take this survey as we work to ensure a safe, pleasant experience for our citizens.”
Pct. 4 Commissioner Jen Crownover said she looks forward to digging through data and ideas gleaned from survey results.
“Whenever attempting to make changes that affect the public in such a big way, it is paramount that we work with the public to educate, create consensus, and implement solutions,” she said. “We’d be fools to pursue the boat ramp issue in any other way. Citizen involvement is crucial for us to get it right. I hope everyone will take a few minutes to fill out this easy survey as well as reach out to your friends and neighbors for their support.”
Doug Leecock, who serves on the Canyon Lake Boat Ramps Community Alliance (CLBRCA), a group of residents formed to help commissioners tackle the issues surrounding boat ramps, said he’s excited that residents will have a chance to provide feedback to the court.
“Whether the feedback is positive or negative, the important thing is that the county is listening and we’re looking forward to working with all the stakeholders to develop implementable solutions to concerns and build upon all the good things that Canyon Lake provides,” he said.
On Feb. 11 county Judge Sherman Krause issued a draft outline of his long-awaited Comal County Boat Ramps Operations Plan.
He said it provides a framework that will serve as a basis for input from the public and key stakeholders.
The county has $1 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that are earmarked for improvements at county boat ramps.
The draft does not hint how that money might be used to help alleviate overcrowding and other issues at the county-operated boat ramps — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Joint Base San Antonio and marinas own and or operate the other 14 boat ramps — but it offers the first clear picture of what the county envisions for the future of its problematic boat ramps.
MyCanyonLake.com has not seen a copy of the survey but reported on Krause’s proposed plan, which he said provides a framework that will serve as a basis for input from the public and key stakeholders.
The plan’s guiding principles are public safety, environmental protection, lake access, consistency and ease-of-use, season, and impact to neighborhoods/parks/facilities.
Partnerships and stakeholders identified in the document include elected officials, law enforcement, fire/EMS, various user/community groups (boating/non-boating, commercial/residential), Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD), Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) USACE and JBSA.
Problems outlined by Krause with the help of the CLBRCA include:
- Ramp congestion
- Ramp safety (vehicles v. pedestrians, swimmers/divers v. watercraft)
- Access for boaters/non-boaters
- Rules and enforcement
- Maintenance and trash cleanup
Short-term solutions (one year) are:
- Placing “No Swimming” signs in prominent areas
- Paving, striping
- Increasing law-enforcement presence during peak weekend
- Increasing garbage pickup during peak weekends
Mid-term solutions (two to five years) include:
- Trails providing pedestrian access to Canyon Lake
- Paving, striping, etc.
- Adding boat docks
- Adding parking for non-trailer vehicles
- Creating an ‘Adopt a Boat Ramp’ program
Long-term solutions, beyond five years, are:
- Acquiring additional property for parking, access, etc.
- Reviewing the need for additional funding sources
Leecock said earlier this month the court also needs to consider conducting a boat-use study, identified by USACE in Section 6.3 of its 2017 master plan.
According to the Corps’ Fort Worth District 2002 policy governing water-related recreational development, there is a target capacity of 22 surface acres of bootable water surface for each vessel on the water during peak use periods.
“Using the number of boat-ramp parking spaces, wet-storage slips and dry-stacked storage slips as a basis for calculating potential boating activity, USACE can determine whether any proposed additions of parking spaces or storage slips has the potential to exceed the target capacity,” the report said. “USACE has determined that the number of existing parking spaces and slips at Canyon Lake as of the date of this plan has the potential to exceed the target capacity and may have already exceeded the target. In view of this potential, USACE would require a comprehensive water-related recreation use study prior to making a decision to approve or deny a proposal for additional slips or boat-ramp parking spaces at Canyon Lake.”
USACE said it does not have adequate funding to conduct a recreational boating study.
“How to fix all of these things derives from knowing how many folks are on the lake,” Leecock said.
About County Boat Ramps
#1 Canyon Lake Village, 579 Skyline Dr.
#2 Canyon Lake Village West, 2410 Colleen Dr.
#5 Canyon Lake Forest, 3150 Canyon Lake Forest Dr.
#6 Canyon Lake Hills 1 – East, 2078 Canyon Lake Dr.
#7 Canyon Lake Hills 2 – West, 2050 Ledgerock Landing
#8 Canyon Springs Resort, 1298 Canyon Springs Dr.
#11 Cypress Cove, 3850 Tanglewood Trl.
#22 Canyon Lake Shores, 808 Park Shores
#23 Mystic Shores, 22100 N. Cranes Mill Rd.