There were big changes on the Comal River in New Braunfels this Memorial Day, as new rules governing the types of beverage containers allowed on the river took effect.
River-goers must now carry only non-disposable containers. Plastic bottles, plastic cups, and anything else disposable will no longer be allowed on the river.
The offense is now a Class C misdemeanor, which results in a written citation.
“People are still getting to drink the beverage of their choice, and from what we’re hearing, they’re out here having a good time,” said Capt. John McDonald, of the New Braunfels Police Department.
McDonald said the amount of trash bobbing around has dramatically decreased, but it appeared the crowds have dwindled as well.
Authorities suspect the new rules may be playing a part in the decreased numbers.
“They’ve decided not to take the Comal river as their first choice,” said McDonald.
Marcella Pierce has spent the annual holiday on the river for years, and said this year, there is more room to float.
“I can tell this Memorial Day is less than half of the crowds we usually see,” she said.
Pierce is critical of the new rules.
”They’re not only losing money on the river, but all the businesses around the river are suffering,” said Pierce.
Numbers of arrests and citations have dropped as well, following the downward trend of crowd numbers and pieces of trash.
Only eight public intoxication arrests have been reported so far this weekend, a number police said is far less than years past.
About two-dozen citations for those breaking the new rules had also been written as of Sunday evening.
More are expected to be reported after Monday’s numbers come in.