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Lake & Rivers Local News

Eccleston Says No Changes Planned for County’s Boat Ramp Rules

Comal County Pct. 1 Commissioner Donna Eccleston represents Canyon Lake. File image.

Comal County commissioners are not considering any changes to existing rules for Canyon Lake boat ramps.

Pct. 1 Comal County Commissioner Donna Eccelston said a public hearing about a new order for boat-ramp regulations, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday during the weekly Commissioners Court meeting is a legality.

The county must schedule a public hearing any time orders are revised. To see the order up for vote tomorrow, click HERE. To see the 1994 order adopting regulations for use of county boat ramps, click HERE.

She said the court is trying to clarify and update 27-year-old language drafted long before Canyon Lake became a tourist mecca attracting hundreds of thousands of recreationalists each year.

In the summer, Canyon Lake’s boat ramps are routinely clogged with traffic, trash and people who disregard rules about swimming, partying, and parking.

“We can only try to enhance the safety and clarity of what you can do in that space, but people will still be coming,” she said. “…Everything you couldn’t do before you still can’t do, and there’s nothing new in this order. We’re just updating the language.”

By law, county boat ramps can only be used to launch or recover boats. No fishing partying, swimming or loitering is allowed. Other offenses include parking, picnicking, obstructing and ignoring requests or orders from law enforcement.

Eccleston said rules about swimming are statutorily enacted by the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority.

The county maintains signage and parking areas at boat ramps but cannot add parking spaces without approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which manages Canyon Lake and some of its boat ramps.

She said most boat ramps around Canyon Lake were installed in the 1960s by developers who then handed them over to the county. They were designed for traffic generated within neighborhoods — not for hundreds of thousands of people.

“Inherently, they’re flawed in that respect,” Eccleston said.

However, several posts on social-media post paint a different picture — and Jen Crownover, Comal County Commissioner Pct. 4, disagrees with Eccleston’s assessment.

Like many in Canyon Lake, she’s concerned with how the new rules impact access to the lake.

“If this passes, it will severely change the usage of the County boat ramps,” she said on Facebook. “I highly encourage everyone who can come speak up during the public hearing to do so.”

The concern is Section 3.05, which states: “No access to other property: No person shall cross the boundaries of the County Boat Ramp Area to access private property or property owned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.”

Mark Robinson of MJR Photography, who has lived at Canyon Lake since 1978, on Facebook dubbed this proposed change “Rules for thee but not for me.”

“This proposed ordinance effectively creates two classes of citizen with respect to access and use of Canyon Lake — a public, taxpayer-funded waterway,” he said. “One class consists of those fortunate enough to own waterfront property and boats, and who will continue to enjoy free and unlimited, twenty-four-hour, three hundred and sixty-five day per year access to Canyon Lake.

“The other class may only access Canyon Lake for a fee at specific times limited by the dictates of governing federal or county oversight…this proposed ordinance is draconian — far too restrictive and unconstitutional in its treatment of one class of citizen over another.”

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  1. Laura West June 15, 2021

    In the past 50 years the Canyon Lake has gone from quiet countryside to the playground for those who wish to be disruptive, rude, trashy and mean. Unfortunately that leaves residents with little choice. One either leaves or puts up with unmannerly people doing whatever they feel like doing.
    I don’t want ramps closed, but have some common sense. Parking where boats and the vehicles that pull them don’t need to be would make sense. Standing on shore to fish rather than on the boat ramps makes sense. Be respectful of the people and wildlife would also make sense. However, good sense cannot be successfully legislated. Ever.

  2. Ed Tennyson June 14, 2021

    As I read the ordinance, the only free way to use Canyon Lake is to have a boat and launch a boat at a public boat ramp. All others are prevented from crossing the Corp of Engr easement adjacent to the lake. This would include even those property owners adjacent to the lake. Remember that the COE owns an easement up to an elevation of about 948 ft above MSL. There are no free parks around the lake.

    The neighborhood ramps were built by the developers of those ramps for their subdivision. Those ramps are now overcrowded by users from all over the state, squeezing out the intended users. A better remedy would be to only allow residents of the subdivisions to use their own ramps. All others would be required to use the ramps at the fee-for-use ramps at county and COE parks.

  3. Bonnie Thielmier June 10, 2021

    Exactly. There’s too much drinking and partying. Rules are fine as long as there are officials to enforce them. Haven’t seen anyone doing anything to keep our Lake Safe. Rules and restrictions are only good unless they’re enforced. Right now there’s the attitude that visitors can do whatever they want. Who’s going to stop them? That’s a major concern.

  4. Bonnie Thielmier June 10, 2021

    Doesn’t sound like a very Safe place for Families to come to for vacation or a very safe place to live. We moved here from our of state 2 years ago for exactly that reason. It has changed significantly in that short period of time. We own a boat and love to take it out but it has become so overrun on weekends and holidays we don’t enjoy going any more. I wonder what this will do for our community as a whole. Doesn’t seem our leaders are seeing the entire picture. Involves much more than just the lake.

  5. Steve Strahan June 9, 2021

    After digesting all of the information, I believe we need a new Commissioner. Our current representative is way out of touch with what the Lake has become, and will continue to evolve into. She has taken a “Head in the Sand” approach and is not representing the interest of those who live at the Lake!

    1. Eric shedrock June 9, 2021

      I think you are hitting the nail on the head .

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