Float Fest cleanup begins as safety operation ends

Trash rests in boats after a cleanup effort on the San Marcos River.
Trash rests in boats after a cleanup effort on the San Marcos River.

MARTINDALE, Texas (KXAN) — Organizers of Float Fest waded into the waters of the San Marcos River to clean the waterway Monday after a concert and float event the day before. Emergency crews also ended expanded operations on the river.

Craig Coleman with Don’s Fish Camp, a river outfitter and participant in Float Fest, says Sunday may have been the busiest day ever for the San Marcos River. A team from the river outfitter went out on the water for about five hours Monday, wading through water and diving to pick up trash.

“I’d say yesterday was one of the busiest days we’ve ever had on this river, the busiest day this river has ever seen,” Coleman said.

“I think that people actually did a good job of containing their trash for the most part,” said Kenneth Gustafson who helped clean up trash for Don’s Fish Camp.

Volunteers took kayaks full of cans out of the river Sunday, the day of Float Fest.

“We have a community of people down here who are concerned about the health of the river and the health of the culture of the river down here,” said Derick Lee, who helped start the group The Eyes of the San Marcos River. The organization worked to pick up and crush cans Sunday.

“It’s very important to create this awareness among everyone, even the tubers themselves, so they actually respect this river instead of using it a club or a party zone,” Lee said.

The emergency operations coordinator for Caldwell County, Martin Ritchey, says there were no significant issues Sunday after a summer with one death on the San Marcos River and multiple missing persons reports. Still, a rescue crew had to remove a group from the river at night and at least one person went to the hospital.

Ritchey says the community is reacting positively to the law enforcement presence on the river and the effort may have helped curb wild behavior.

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