COMAL COUNTY, Texas – Canyon Lake officials are taking steps to prevent overcrowding and pollution at the park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said large crowds in recent weeks have caused concern for public safety and the environment.
“Every single time we’ve come, it’s been more and more people. I was actually surprised, considering it’s not even the weekend right now,” said Yvette Todea, who visited Canyon Lake on Monday.
Todea has traveled to Canyon Lake for years with her sons. She said this is the most crowded she’s seen the lake and park in recent memory.
“The worst part is just people are leaving their trash everywhere,” said Todea.
La Vernia resident Jennifer Lopez echoed Todea’s statement, saying she has seen more trash along the shoreline.
“I try to pick up as much as I can, but there is a bit more trash because people just leave it there or leave empty water bottles,” said Lopez.
Canyon Lake staff members are asking all visitors to practice what they call “leave-no-trace” and use designated trash bins along the shoreline.
“Canyon Lake is a very popular destination. We have visitors from Houston, the metro areas. But, unfortunately, some members of the public, they go down to the shoreline and leave all the trash behind,” said Javier Perez-Ortiz, U.S. Army Corps Lake Manager.
Perez-Ortiz said aside from the trash, there is also an issue with people parking illegally in the grass because designated parking spots or areas fill up quickly, especially on weekends.
“Vehicles start to damage the area and create environmental damage, and the grass doesn’t grow anymore,” said Perez-Ortiz.
Due to these concerns, Canyon Lake officials will now limit entry to the park when they reach capacity. Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and arrive early. Officials said the park could reach capacity on busy weekends as early as 10 a.m.
“Basically, we’re closing half of the gate and having our rangers direct traffic for safety and security purposes down there,” said Perez-Ortiz.
Perez-Ortiz also noted that with overcrowding, visitors are asked to be extra cautious if they plan to swim in the lake.
“We always encourage the public, if you are close to the water or near the water, to wear a life jacket,” said Perez-Ortiz. “We would like to see everybody go home safe.”
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