Parks and boat ramps at Canyon Lake were packed over the Memorial Day weekend and as gas prices soar, many predict crowds will be even larger for the rest of the summer.
Nobody wants to drive any further than they have to, making the area an even greater vacation mecca for those living in San Antonio and Austin.
Despite anticipated crowds, not much has been done to improve conditions at Canyon Lake boat ramps.
After more than a year of hearings and meetings by Comal County commissioners and a survey by Canyon Lake Boat Ramps Community Alliance (CLBRCA) — a group of citizens working with the county to resolve issues at boat ramps — the biggest changes are more signage and a slightly increased law-enforcement presence.
The new exclusion-zone signage indicates where to launch and recover watercraft and where to swim and picnic.
All boat ramps have some extended shorelines where people can swim or fish but doing so too close to boat ramps is dangerous. Picnicking is especially popular at boat ramps 7, 8 and 22.
CLBRCA’s Doug Leecock said although the county is moving slowly with plans to address issues at boat ramps, more constables and sheriff’s deputies who can enforce somewhat confusing rules will make a huge difference.
“That’s what these ramps need, enforcement,” he said. “Everywhere you look on Facebook, people want more law enforcement at the ramps.”
However, the Comal County Sheriff’s Office is short-staffed, forcing CLBRCA and commissioners to find other solutions like using school-security officers.
Leecock said long-term plans for boat ramps call for more lighting and additional parking spaces for cars. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) does not want to provide more trailered parking spaces.
“They have to have a light basically on the ramp and not all of the ramps have that,” he said.
He hopes that adding parking spaces, striping and paving ramps will create a more mixed-use environment for everyone.
“People want to come out here and recreate,” Leecock said.
Blaming excursion companies for some of the chaos at boat ramps isn’t fair, he said.
“Most want to do things right,” he said. “This is their livelihood.”