AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s Barton Creek Greenbelt is still closed to visitors.
Parks employees are checking trails three times daily to evaluate how safe they are. They’re also in the process of repairing trails eroded by rain. The Austin parks ground manager said different parts of the trails could take from three days to a couple of weeks to reopen, depending on how quickly they dry out.
“It was pretty muddy out. We couldn’t get past because there was a lot of mud. We just turned around. Lot of trash out, just really dirty,” Chalaya Bondurant said.
Many people walked around “closed” signs and gates on the Barton Creek Greenbelt Monday, as search crews looked for a swimmer who went missing at Sculpture Falls.
While trails are closed the Parks Department says there really is no teeth to shutting down the trails, they just ask for compliance. “It is really incumbent on the public to adhere to those closure when they see very obviously that the greenbelt has been closed.”
Even though the greenbelt is closed, the creek itself is not—even though most of the creek is only accessible via the greenbelt. The Austin Fire Department says it won’t shut down access to the creek until it’s running at 1,500 cubic feet per second.
While the various agencies do their best to inform visitors of the dangers and closures, AFD Captain Josh Portie says people have to take the warnings seriously. “It’s not all on our plate, it’s also the responsibility of the people,” said Portie.
The signs seemed to at least have some effect in turning hikers back around. Kaleb Kapaldo said his hike near Lost Creek came across very few people and those who were on the trail could not maneuver the way they typically could.
“The water is running like crazy so there is no way to cross sides at all,” he said. “Swimming would be a pain because you would probably get swept away.”
Moments later, Mitchell Ostrowski tried his hand at crossing the creek and though he was successful, he doesn’t suggest it for everybody especially younger children.
“It is something you have to be careful about. That is the main thing. Be cautious.”