SEGUIN — Guadalupe County commissioners have endorsed plans to create a park district along the San Marcos River in Caldwell County.
Proponents of the park district say it will be similar to the Water-Oriented Recreation District in Comal County.
“We’re where the Guadalupe River and Comal County were 30 years ago,” Terry Alford of San Marcos told commissioners court in Tuesday’s meeting.
Alford said more and more tubers are floating the San Marcos River. “With thousands of tubers come tens of thousands of beer cans,” he said.
Litter such as beer cans isn’t the only problem. He pointed out that outfitters renting tubes and providing shuttle transportation don’t typically have restrooms for their customers, and there also are health and safety issues.
“We’ve had numerous alcohol poisoning cases. We had one death,” Alford said.
Plans call for financing the park district with a fee of $1 per tubing customer of the outfitters. Those bringing their own tubes and not using the outfitters’ services would not have to pay the fee.
“There’s no taxing authority. There’s no bonding authority,” Alford said.
He said Caldwell County and the small towns along the river can’t afford the cost of cleaning up the litter and regulating recreational users.
“We’re trying to change the culture a little bit,” Alford said.
Establishing the park district will require a special bill to make its way through the Texas Legislature, and the legislation, if approved, will authorize a local-option election on creating the district.
On a motion made by Precinct 2 Commissioner Kyle Kutscher and seconded by Precinct 1 Commissioner Roger Baenziger, the court voted 5-0 to adopt the resolution endorsing the park district in Caldwell County.
In related action Tuesday, the court voted to approve the San Marcos River Safety Ordinance.
“This is basically a proactive approach for river safety,” Kutscher said when introducing the proposed ordinance.
“The San Marcos River has traditionally and historically been used for recreation by swimmers, fishermen, canoes, kayaks, tubes and other types of paddleboats,” the ordinance says. “The river is not suited for high-powered boats or powered personal watercraft as their operating characteristics create a water safety hazard for other traditional users and landowners along the river.”
The ordinance prohibits operating a motorboat or powered personal watercraft on the San Marcos River between Martindale Dam and Scull’s Crossing with some exceptions.
One of the exceptions allows the operation of a boat or personal watercraft powered by a trolling motor or an outboard motor of 10 horsepower or less.
There also are exceptions for certified peace officers performing official duties and for someone operating a motorboat solely for engineering or scientific research.
Violating the ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to $200.
The court also approved an interlocal agreement between Guadalupe and Caldwell counties for the enforcement of each county’s river safety ordinance.