Sometime after dark Friday, new signs materialized at the eight closed Canyon Lake boat ramps operated by Comal County.
Affixed to existing orange-and-white barricades and in fuzzy type, the neon-orange signs announced these boat ramps can now be used to launch and recover “watercraft by hand.”
It’s a huge win for kayakers and others who use non-motorized watercraft like SUP boards to hand-portage onto the lake. Until last weekend, they had to compete with the big boats lining up at dangerously overcrowded Boat Ramp #6.
But it’s a mystery to everyone else why Commissioners Court Judge Sherman Krause would greenlight the signs without a full vote in Commissioners Court.
Revising the rules for boat ramps typically involves an official modification to the 1994 ‘Use of County Boat Ramps’ order, and the judge is known to be a stickler for details.
In late June, members of the Canyon Lake Boat Ramps Community Alliance (CLBRCA), who have worked closely with Krause over the last three years to finalize a comprehensive plan to fix big problems at all ramps, met with the judge and were told it was unlikely regulations applying to closed ramps would be updated.
Sunday, CLBRCA’s Doug Leecock said the signs’ appearance surprised him. Pct. 1 Commissioner Donna Eccleston and Pct 4 Commissioner Jen Crownover, who represent the Canyon Lake area on the court, also said they were not informed in advance of the abrupt change in rules.
Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD) General Manager Mike Dussere, who provides law enforcement and porta-potties at all of Canyon Lake’s open boat ramps, said he didn’t know either.
Only Leecock, who is running in the 2024 race to replace Eccleston, was willing to comment further about the signs.
“The CLBRCA didn’t know about the signs being installed,” he said. “However, we are excited and appreciative to see the signage at the county boat ramps and are looking forward to updating the related regulations and operations documents to solidify the ongoing maintenance and enforcement of these heavily visited points.”
County spokesperson Cary Zayas did not respond to a request for information about the county’s decision.
Canyon Lake’s water levels continue to drop as the drought tightens its grip on Canyon Lake.
Only six of the lake’s 23 boat ramps are still open, which has not deterred thousands of people from swarming the lake daily.
Last week hundreds were spotted overturning barriers and closed ramps and defying rules that ban swimming, loitering and parking at closed boat ramps.