WORD Deals with Trash Problems by Adding Dumpsters, Increasing Trash Pickup
As thousands of extra visitors surge into Canyon Lake this summer, leaving so much trash behind that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is warning it may have to close more parks or trails, Water Oriented District of Comal County (WORD) has added extra trash pick up and dumpsters to cope with its own headaches.
“We have increased our frequency for park litter cleanup, added dumpsters and increased their cleanout frequency in response to the volume of visitation,” said WORD General Manager Mike Dussere.
This year, WORD assumed responsibility for the 116-acre Comal Park, famous for its swim beach. WORD also operates boat ramps.
It also provides free trash grabbers and trash bags to residents and visitors.
Jen Crownover, Comal County Commissioner Pct. 4, said on Facebook that large volumes of visitors, unanticipated closures and “atrocious behavior” have overwhelmed WORD and USACE, whose budgets were set long before COVID-19.
Recreationalists should “pack in, pack out,” she said.
USACE’s decision to temporarily close some recreation areas reflect a lack of manners and common decency during the COVID-19 quarantine, she said.
“Shame on them for ruining this for everybody else.”
Earlier this week USACE closed its Guadalupe Trail and parking lots on weekends and major holidays to prevent damage of its natural resources, citing large amounts of garbage and other debris left behind by record crowds.
WORD is a park and recreation district created by the Texas Legislature in 1987 and voted for by the residents of Comal County in 1988.
It encompasses Canyon Lake and over 30 miles of floatable water on the Guadalupe River above and below Canyon Lake. It exists within Comal County north of highway 46 to the west beginning at Guadalupe River State Park and runs east to the New Braunfels city limits.
The purpose of W.O.R.D. is to improve the environment and welfare of the district by conserving natural resources, improving public health, promoting water safety, and operating public parks located in the district.
To carry out the mandate, W.O.R.D. issues permits to water-related businesses allowing them to collect user fees from customers visiting the district.
The majority of the collected fees are expended on services such as:
- Regular clean-up efforts along the river, lake, and popular roadways.
- Law enforcement and emergency medical services.
- Contributions to local projects and organizations to promote and improve the district.
- Community education and outreach programs to promote safe and responsible water recreation.
- Public health and sanitation to include dumpsters and portable toilets for public use.