USACE Blames Guests for Truckloads of Trash in Canyon Lake Parks
Talking about trash left behind by visitors to Canyon Lake is almost as popular with locals as complaining about lack of crowd control at county boat ramps.
With summer season underway, residents are back on social media sharing images of garbage-strewn parks and trails.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Natural Resource Specialist Samuell Price says his work email box is filling up with complaints from locals, too.
However, he said there’s little more USACE can do given its resources. Guests and recreationalists need to start picking up after themselves. Rangers are there to keep parks safe, not walk around picking up other people’s litter.
“We care about the parks and try our best on limited budget and staff to keep up with the demands, but guests must do their part in respecting the lands and waters so we don’t have to clean them up constantly,” Price said.
Several years ago the public began trashing out USACE parks, leaving truckloads of litter on Canyon Lake’s shores.
Price said USACE sought a partner and Mike Dussere, general manager of Water Oriented Recreation District of Canyon Lake (WORDCC), offered to provide trash barrels for Overlook Park’s shoreline, collect litter, and installed a trash-bag receptable at the head of a busy trail.
“He even pays for the trash to be collected by contractors and removed on a regularly scheduled basis,” he said. “Unfortunately the demand for the park and recreation has grown exponentially in the past two years. More guests have become litter bugs and left everything from dirty diapers, to clothing, to food, and plastic trash all over the park.
“I have actually had conversations with guests demanding to know why the rangers were not picking up all the trash every day.”
Price said park rangers can’t keep guests safe if they’re forced to focus on litter control.
Also, trash poses a safety risk. It makes it hard for other guests to walk safetly through parks or along the Canyon Lake shoreline.
“We need more hands to make the cleanup go faster, but the cleanup would not have to happen if the guests would clean up after their selves instead of walking off and expecting a park ranger to clean up after them,” he said.