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