SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – A proposed state park designation for the San Marcos River is hoped to curtail drunk driving, underage drinking and littering.
The Texas Rivers Protection Association President Tom Goynes presented their proposal to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Thursday. The idea is that a stretch of the San Marcos River would be considered a state park, which would ultimately ban the consumption of alcohol on the river.
The group would like to see a 60-mile stretch of the river included in the proposal, but they’re open to it being a smaller stretch.
“They’re abusing alcohol. It’s basically a frat party every day. And there are no police. They know if they are on the river they are safe. Underage kids can drink and there are no police to control the party. So, by making the river a state park, you could prohibit alcohol and it’s about the only way you can in Texas,” said Goynes.
Goynes says drinking while floating has been the cause of many wrecks and what’s behind a river bed covered in litter. He also recalls the most recent incident where a woman lost her husband and unborn child after being involved in a crash on State Highway 21. San Marcos police say 21-year-old Shana Elliott crossed the center line causing the crash. Elliott later admitted to police that she had been drinking beer and liquor while floating the river at Texas State Tubes prior to the crash.
“The river is the property of falling down drunks and underage drinkers,” said Jack Fairchild. He lives along the San Marcos River and says drunkenness is an issue every weekend through the summer.
All groups are still working to determine who would enforce the law, whether it be local law enforcement or park rangers. Regardless, land owners say it’s time to see a change.
“I think a state park would be feasible, and we know that it would solve our problems so that’s what we are pushing for, a linear state park. It would be the first one in the state of Texas, but there are plenty of them going in all around the country and a lot of times its for the same reason that we need one,” said Goynes.
“Everyone has the right to use the river, we all have a right to float and tube, but we need to eliminate the alcohol. Alcohol is the problem,” said Mike McClabb, who lives along the San Marcos River.
A task force assigned by Texas Parks and Wildlife will now complete a report that will detail all problems on the San Marcos River.
That report will then be presented to commissioners in November who will then determine how to move forward.