Survey About Canyon Lake Boat Ramps Closes Friday

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What's wrong with this picture? Image of swimmers at Canyon Lake boat ramp by Kandy Roby.
What's wrong with this picture? Image of swimmers at Canyon Lake boat ramp by Kandy Roby.

Don’t just complain about traffic, trash and swimmers at Canyon Lake boats ramps — complete the county’s online survey, posted on the county’s social-media sites and website, MyComalCounty.com.

The survey closes Friday, March 11.

Its purpose 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 for the residents who live around them.

“Look, the survey is designed to gather feedback, whether positive or negative, from a broad range of people that use the ramps,” said Doug Leecock, who serves on the Canyon Lake Boat Ramps Community Alliance (CLBRCA), a group of citizens working with the county to resolve issues at boat ramps.

“Once the data is gathered, the expectation of the alliance is that the county will put the data into a meaningful format and share this information with everyone, because heck, what good is it if you don’t share the information you just asked everyone to provide and work towards solutions?” he said. “All along, the county has been talking about workshops and communication. This survey is the first important step so we can develop a meaningful, implementable plan. So please complete the survey and be a part of the process. Thank you!”

One of MyCanyonLake.com’s readers, Kandy Roby, wasn’t so charitable. She left this message in the comments section:

“Boat ramp #5, is out of Control! Boat trailers parked all the way up to our pool area, on private property in the median and double deep. The number of people using the boat ramp to launch, is closer to 50, instead of the 18 parking spots designated, not to mention all the additional day picnickers with pop-ups, swimming in that boat launching area. This is extremely dangerous.

“People swimming as boats are launching and by the end of the day five to six boats (are) waiting to load at one time making it hard for boaters, some of which are inexperienced! My neighbor waited 1 1/2 hours to recover his boat, he said people were arguing and fighting in the boat ramp line, his daughter was driving the boat waiting in the water and didn’t feel safe with all the swimmers so close to the boat.

“The rentals are a huge problem (jet skis and longboards), they hang out in the boat ramp launching area too. Clogging it up further, not following the no-wake rules, and making it even harder for the boats to launch and load. It’s like a minefield of swimmers, jet skis and longboards and then add alcohol to this equation!

“Day campers flooding the shoreline because Comal Park fills up quickly and then closes. They walk or drive cars down the boat ramp or cut across private property to access the shoreline, bringing with them dogs that are not on leashes, tents, barbecue pits, ice chest, floats (they too are floating in the launching area) with parties of 10-20, leaving behind a mess! They also walk onto private property to use tables, chairs and have stolen our items too! We have found hypodermic needles, can smell pot, found pot paraphernalia, beer cans, glass bottles, diapers, trash, and people urinating and defecating in the brush on private property! This shoreline is not set up to be a park, one port-o- potty and one trash bin, as you leave the boat ramp!

“Very little police supervision, and as homeowners we do not have anyone to back us up, there is one officer at the boat ramp and he is overwhelmed! Not everyone leaves at dark, trucks are parking on the the shoreline late into the night!

“It looks like Spring Break at Port Aransas!”

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 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.

Krause’s proposed plan 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.

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  1. Why not charge market-rate pricing for parking? Once the supply of “free” parking fails to meet the demand, there are two options – increase the supply or reduce the demand. As noted in previous articles, increasing the supply isn’t an option for several reasons, with the primary reason being that the Corps won’t authorize additional parking spaces. The only option left is to reduce the demand.

    The best managers of commercial parking lots don’t even own a “Lot Full” sign because they charge the appropriate price for parking. When the lot nears capacity, they increase the price, and when the lot has many vacancies, they reduce the price. The end result is that their lots always have available parking. There is never any congestion or spillover, and customer’s can always rely on having a place to park.

    It gets even better. The fees generated from the parking spaces can be earmarked solely for the operation and maintenance of the boat ramps. This includes fee collection, law enforcement, trash service, portable toilet service, and road maintenance. Most importantly, these costs will be paid by boat ramp users instead of all Comal County taxpayers. If the boat ramp parking fees collected exceed the operation and maintenance costs of the ramps, then the remaining balance can be returned to the general tax fund, which will reduce the taxes for all Comal County residents.

    Let’s look at this proposal from a boater’s perspective. Imagine coming out to the lake on a weekend afternoon in the summer time. The boat ramp parking lot is well-maintained with new asphalt, no potholes, and freshly painted lines. There is no trash anywhere to be seen, and there is a clean portable toilet. There is no line to launch because the ramp isn’t overcrowded. There are no swimmers in the water because local law enforcement is adequately funded to patrol the area frequently enough to remove them from the area, and because they are no longer stuck performing traffic control. After launching, there is a parking spot readily available. When leaving for the day, again there is no line to recover the boat from the water, and there are no swimmers in the water. There is a half-filled dumpster ready for all trash, and a clean portable toilet.

    Now let’s look at this from an adjacent landowner’s perspective. Imagine a street without vehicles and boat trailers parked everywhere because local law enforcement is adequately funded to make routine patrols of the area. Imagine a boat ramp with no line to launch or recover a boat. Since you live locally, you won’t even have to pay for a parking spot because you can park at your house.

    Now let’s look at this from the Comal County taxpayer’s perspective. Imagine the boat ramps as a self-sufficient, or perhaps even income-producing, asset that reduces everyone’s tax liability because funds that were once used to pay for the operation and maintenance of these ramps can now be diverted elsewhere.

    I encourage all Comal County residents and policymakers to read “The High Cost of Free Parking” by Donald Shoup.

  2. Ms. Roby is spot on regarding the chaotic boatramp #5. We live 1.6 miles away and cannot use our local ramp due to ridiculous congestion and NO Parking. Measures should be implemented so that all rentals have one designated place or ramp for them only, not ramp #5. It has become dangerous especially with their eratic driving, speeding through our neighborhood without regard for children or deer.

  3. I agree with Ms. Roby 100 percent ! We live on the water by boat ramp 5. We have had people walk on our property to squat and use the bathroom. We have had dirty diapers and dirty poopy wipes blowing on our property. Broken glass , lots of trash! We also have had a lot of underage drinking and lots of loud music. We usually have to call the local police multiple times to get things handled. The signs at the boat ramp clearly state no camping , no loitering, no fires . The other sign says launching and retrieving of watercraft only. Our neighbor had some one kicked off their property for using drugs . She had needles on their property. There are designated camping sites and federal and county parks for people to enjoy. There are no trash cans or bathrooms down by the boat ramps . It needs to be strictly enforced or it could get really out of hand . We have to pick up so much trash daily. This is such a beautiful lake if we don’t enforce the rules it will get out of hand ! The trash alone will destroy the beauty of our lake . The people that come here do not care about any of these rules ! It has to be enforced!

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