Crowds flock to Comal river, leave mess behind

Some tubers complain drunken behavior, trash ruined experience

NEW BRAUNFELS – It was a busy holiday weekend on the Comal river with large crowds, some bad behavior and plenty of trash left behind after the party.

The Fourth of July was the second summer holiday on the river without the 'can ban' in place and it had some wishing the ban was still being enforced.

San Antonio resident Kayleen Andrus was expecting a relaxing float down the Comal with her family Saturday, but her experience wasn't very family friendly.

She said the river was packed and many of the tubers had way too much to drink.

"You couldn't avoid any of that. You were butting right up next to it," Andrus said. "I've never seen it like that ever. It was always so much more pleasant."

In addition to drunken behavior, Andrus saw plenty of trash floating in the water with her.

"My arm hit (a can) when I was kind of floating along," Andrus said. "I didn't see any disgusting trash, but there was some trash in the river."

According to New Braunfels police, officers wrote 101 citations between Friday and Sunday ranging from littering to minors in possession to criminal trespassing.

There were nine arrests including public intoxication, drug possession and assault.

Andrew Cannon is a New Braunfels resident and swims in the river up to five times a week. While he's seen some trash floating around, he hasn't noticed much of a difference from the years when the can ban was in place.

"It was a little bit dirty from over the weekend, but not too many cans in the water," Cannon said. "I really haven't noticed too much of a difference between the behavior on the river from when the can ban was in place to now that it's not."

According to the city's sanitation department, they won't have statistics on how much trash was pulled out of the river this holiday weekend until sometime in August, but they say based on the amount of trash that came out during the Memorial Day weekend, they expect it to be pretty high."

The city says following that holiday weekend scuba divers removed 242 pounds of trash from the river filling 119 bags, up from 45 pounds and 22 bags one year ago.

Despite her bad trip, Andrus said she hasn't given up on returning to the river in the future.

"Oh, I'll go back, but not on a Saturday and not on a Holiday weekend because I love the river."

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