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Herald-Zeitung Online

Massive crowds cause mayor to close Comal River

Posted: Saturday, July 16, 2011 8:34 pm

New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil declared a “state of emergency” on the Comal River Saturday afternoon because of the large number of tubers.

Pospisil, City Manager Michael Morrison and New Braunfels Police Chief Tom Wibert began discussing the need for Comal River closure about 2 p.m., after they said it had become too crowded.

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23 comments:

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  • breadNB posted at 6:53 pm on Tue, Jul 19, 2011.

    breadNB Posts: 88

    I hear ya Charles...as far as daily usage, you're right- it WOULD be nice if the steps were wider as they would really clear up the back log of tubers getting out at the last exit, but it's got to remain wheelchair friendly also.

    I'm not sure if the city owns that property outside the walls, but I'm guessing that if the city *did* own that section as well, they would've made it that way to begin with, but you know what they say about "guessing" haha

     
  • charles_tory posted at 8:53 am on Tue, Jul 19, 2011.

    charles_tory Posts: 19

    BreadNB, I never have but I guess you are right. I just know that I've seen a back log of folks at the bottom trying to herd themselves up those two narrow walk ways. I wonder if there is a way to expand the walkway, adding more steps and still leaving some type of ramp? Does the city own any of the property past the current walls? Can those be torn down and expand the entire area? I don't know the answer, just throwing some suggestions out there.

     
  • hocndoc posted at 10:09 pm on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    hocndoc Posts: 860

    I'm lucky enough to live on the Guadalupe and that's where I've done most of my toobing.
    While floating, as well as while walking the blocks trying to get voters in my failed City Council race, I've had several people complain about the restrictions on the river, about the city where they pay taxes closing off street parking (while having a difficult time doing the same Downtown ), and more than one remind me that the State (okay, a couple said, "the people") owns the river, not the landowners around it.but the most compelling were the mothers asking whether there will be places to enter the river with their kids, for free.
    (the "doc" half of "hocndoc")

     
  • breadNB posted at 7:07 pm on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    breadNB Posts: 88

    Really Charles? You'd like to get rid of the wheelchair ramps at the last exit?

    You must not have ever seen a handicapped person float the river, eh?

     
  • ladykj64 posted at 4:54 pm on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    ladykj64 Posts: 1

    I left N.B. in 1984 when floating the river was simple and fun. No overcrowding very often. The only fee i remember paying was for tube rental and a few dollars to get into Camp Warneke. The small town charm has been replaced by a pop. explosion, prices soaring and too many darn people.

     
  • boandkat posted at 4:14 pm on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    boandkat Posts: 4

    Everything they are whining about is allready against the law. Its allready against the law to be drunk in public, nudity,ect...making it against the law twice will not change anything. Whats the emergency? where can you get in the comal thats not 50 freet from the shore and shallow? This is another loop hole played by the city with an alternative motive. The rain will return. Tourist will return to the quadalupe. The sky is not falling.

     
  • charles_tory posted at 1:54 pm on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    charles_tory Posts: 19

    Have you ever floated the Comal? When the crowd is so massive, it causes all kinds of chaos at the "Last Tuber's Exit". Imagine being a park ranger or NBPD trying to keep order at the bottom when you have hundreds of people on tubes (most tied together) trying to exit at the same time. You have people standing around trying to un-tie their tubs, put their shoes back on, illegally finish off that last beer, stand on the bottom platform to wait for others in their party to get out. Meanwhile, you run out of space for others trying to get out of the water. Parents trying to grab their little kids, drunks getting into fights because someone bumped into them, people wanting to jump back into the water to rinse/cool off all causing a backlog of tubers. Let's not forget the hazard that this causes. If you've exited the river here before, then you also know how slippery the steps that are in the water can be. Not to mention trash left on the bottom platform for people to step on and cut their feet. If nothing else, the $5 will help get more Rangers and NBPD Officers in that area to help with the flow of people up the stairs.

    One suggestion from me would also be to remove the winding railing and ramps leading back up to the street level. Turning this into a solid row of steps (with rails) would help with the flow of people in my opinion.

     
  • bigdtootall posted at 10:53 am on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    bigdtootall Posts: 1

    Whats This For?? This is aint crowded! Its always about the money, poor folks cant even get wet without paying some blankety blank fee! Tubers unite!

     
  • LSTOLINSKI posted at 10:22 am on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    LSTOLINSKI Posts: 549

    Charging a fee won't stop people flocking to the river, but the point is: it will pay for the policing and clean up. Why should my tax dollars go to policing and cleaning up after the thoughtless people who overuse and abuse the rivers?

     
  • ebradley060984 posted at 8:02 am on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    ebradley060984 Posts: 3

    Charging an access fee is not going to stop tubers from flocking down to the river.

    Why couldn't the city stagger people on to the river all day long like they had in past weekends? Start staggering people earlier in the day, and the city might not have had a need to shut down the river entirely.

    Shutting down the river just ends up being a publicity stunt... It broadcasts images all over the news of how many people are partying on the river at once, and probably ends up just inviting more people who want to join the party to come float the following weekend.

     
  • sanddollar posted at 7:53 am on Mon, Jul 18, 2011.

    sanddollar Posts: 24

    So what's the problem?

     
  • comalkid posted at 8:20 pm on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    comalkid Posts: 50

    Ban smoking in the public rivers, not the beer. Alston, our city founders and culture to date commands the freedom(s) we enjoy whether you drink alcohol or not. The big bad wolf is not coming, but if it does watch out we will protect our own. What have you done to help? If you have ever cleaned diapers you know that it won't be long before you will have to do it again until that child learns cleanliness, appropriateness, placing techniques and other self reliant efforts to become a contributing member of socitey. I don't have all the answers just most of them.

     
  • breadNB posted at 7:18 pm on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    breadNB Posts: 88

    I really don't see how a ban on "any and all" containers is even possible. Regardless of it being a complete and utter knee-jerk reaction.

     
  • kitten posted at 3:57 pm on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    kitten Posts: 26

    What about the rivers? What about nature? What about their right to be preserved and not raped and ravaged? My family has been here six generations and I for one am sick and tired of this. When I was a child I have fond memories of wading in the Guadalupe with no ther people or himes in sight. I reallize times change and we have grown but what we have here is not that. We need to take our rivers and our city back. Tourist are great. I have nothing against them but, this, this has got to stop. PELASE!

     
  • IGarden posted at 3:04 pm on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    IGarden Posts: 472

    During the "River Wild Series," I wrote the following comment, and I stand by it:

    Those who are advocating in favor of allowing the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers to remain drunken "party til you drop" “anything goes” landfill zones, with little law enforcement, need to realize that they are "shooting themselves in the foot."

    That applies to both types of H-Z commenters who are horrified that change they won't like may be coming: 1. The ones who enjoy the party, and 2. The ones who make money off the "vandalization" of New Braunfels and both rivers. (And their comments are patently obvious, by the way.)

    There will be changes made, and they are just over the horizon. What these particular folks need to do is switch gears, and try to preserve the freedom they love on the rivers - or the profit they make off them by positive changes. As long as they keep fighting positive change, they are jeopardizing both of their goals.

    Furthermore, the governmental entities granted control of our Texas rivers need to actually "get control of our Texas rivers!" They need to regularly float the rivers, incognito, on the busiest weekends of the year, and ask themselves if they'd be comfortable exposing their children and grandchildren to what they see.

    They also need to ask themselves if our precious rivers are receiving the care they deserve, so that they can provide beauty and pleasure for future generations. If not, then they need to get real busy, real quick working on solutions for the problems – before someone else does.

    They need to realize that if they don't effectively institute positive change pretty soon, Texas will quickly slide further down the short path to environmental wacko-ism, because change will happen, one way or the other - on the Comal as well as on the Guadalupe.

    All it will take is one itty-bitty fish, plant, or snail becoming endangered due to “over-touristization!” It’s simply a matter of time - and whether or not the state wants to retain control of its own rivers – or have rules made, enforced, and shoved in our faces by federal agencies!

    Then, it may be too late. Take time to write your representatives, from local all the way to Austin, and demand that they take action now!

     
  • slmo2l posted at 12:44 pm on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    slmo2l Posts: 209

    AtTheLake- very well stated!! The City has conflicting policies regarding the river and associated businesses. For example, on the recommendation of City Staff (includung the Police Dept), the City Council voted down a new tube entrance into the Comal River because it would make it harder for Police to control, and harder to know how many people are on the river. Yet, other City departments are allowing, encouraging, and even assisting NEW tube rental companies on a daily basis! Additionally, the existing tube rental companies are adding tubes and shuttle buses. So, while the Police Dept is trying to regain control of the crowds, other City Depts are creating ever greater crowds... Who's minding the asylum here?

     
  • AtTheLake posted at 11:03 am on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    AtTheLake Posts: 196

    If the issue is safety, add more police and charge access fee to pay for them.
    Create controlled parking areas for anyone using the river by private vehicle - have police check for sobriety before they can drive out of the lots. Monitor the vehicles that exit the outfitters' parking areas. There needs to be a way to match the source of revenue needed for police with the source of the expense, the tubers. Isn't it already against the law to drive while intoxicated? Then make use that law to its fullest extent. If the word gets out that New Braunfels is REALLY cracking down on alchohol violations around the river, maybe it will slow down the problem.

    If the issue is trash, pass an ordinance to ban any and all containers or coolers. If you can't regulate alchohol on the river without a state law, you can still have some controls on people who use city-owned property to get into the river.

    To avoid dehydration, have water fountains along the river where tubers can get out and get water. (or have some other type of free water stations)

    My point is, the community needs to decide what is most important - finding money or resources to deal with the river problems AFTER they occur, or make changes to PREVENT them from occuring. These are 2 different problems requiring different solutions.

    So far, from what I read, I can't tell if the city policitians or the city residents who pay the bills have decided on exactly which problem needs fixing.

     
  • ALSTON posted at 10:54 am on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    ALSTON Posts: 1257

    As I posted on another article, either we take the initiative to clean up the action and the trash or the EPA will step in to do it! Which would be better - local control or mess with more government regulations and restrictions? Remember, it isn't "our" private playground in the strictest sense - the water belongs to other users downstream who have a right to a certain cleanliness. I submit that banning any and all containers would be a major first step toward regaining control.

     
  • Ninaninaballerina posted at 7:44 am on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    Ninaninaballerina Posts: 118

    I don't think an access fee will do anything to help the river or the behavior on the river. Yes, it would give us more money to clean it up and pay the police. Is that what we want?? People can afford to pay the access fees...they buy tons of beer.... What bothers me is the disrespect they have for the river..and it isn't just a "few" people like some would have you believe.. It takes an enormous number of people throwing the aluminum cans under water to make the tons of trash that accumulates.. We have given them bags for the trash, begged them, and fined them. They just sink the cans anyway "because they can". Maybe, we need a new sign that says,."Trash the river, everyone else does". Maybe it it will be a stimulas to create jobs. That's the only positive thing that I can think of....... We make jobs for the outfitters, so...lets make jobs for the "river cleaners, security, and emergency rooms."

     
  • sloWPoke posted at 6:58 am on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    sloWPoke Posts: 2

    I don't golf & schlitterbahn can help split the bill for river management for that price of admission. Every ordinance the city implements to control or regulate the comal river, has in the long run have caused problems elsewhere. From Smaller coolers to banning beer bongs & jello shots to regulate drunken nuisance. Ppl found ways around those by binge drinking ahead of time and/or filling coolers with mixed drinks that contain a higher content of alcohol. Drunken nuisance hasn't declined. Minimized parking & creating permit only zones caused a traffic nightmare on common and union st. Intersection. And now I see drivers speeding down my neighborhood. In other words implementing a river access fee isn't the answer. I for 1 will never pay an access fee just so I can be labeled a river pirate! Ive returned and even help find lost possessions. Public awareness and rain so that the guadalupe river can flow and control overcrowding on the comal.

     
  • LSTOLINSKI posted at 12:36 am on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    LSTOLINSKI Posts: 549

    So the tourism cup has runneth over...

     
  • rusty nail posted at 12:00 am on Sun, Jul 17, 2011.

    rusty nail Posts: 111

    The City owns the Golf Course and there is a green fee to play. You must pay to get into the City swimming pool and waterpark. Charging an access fee for the river is the smart thing to do.

    An access fee will help regulate and pay for the costs for river management. Schlitterbahn is getting over $40.00 a head to get into their waterpark, So whats $5 to make the Comal River a pleasant place again. I know this upsets many people because it will cut into their beer budget, or buying those awesome accessories to outfit their cooler radio with twin subwoofers and custom paint.

    Let's face it over the last several years numerous ordinances have been made to regulate everything from jell-o shots, beer bongs, coolers, and noise but nothing has ever been put into place to regulate crowds until this year in which they are regulating the amount of people onto the river at one time. Implementing the access fee will help with the crowds.

    Let a full scale riot break out one day to where these mass crowds began looting and destroying our vehicles, homes and city. The ones opposing the access fee will be the first ones to blame City offficlals for not doing anything to control crowds. Oh wait nothing like that will ever happen ike that in New Braunfels!!!!! Well hello there I am Reality and I am her to slap you in the face.

     
  • ionizer posted at 9:20 pm on Sat, Jul 16, 2011.

    ionizer Posts: 174

    Look out river outfitters. This is the first step in the city's march to take over the river. They are playing the "SAFETY" card.

    Access fees can't be far ahead.