San Marcos tubing outfitter opens new route, homeowners worried

Texas State Tubes adds new 'family friendly float' route. (KXAN photo)

MARTINDALE, Texas (KXAN) – Texas State Tubes is expanding to new parts of the San Marcos River, but not everyone is happy about it. The tubing outfitter says it now has two routes, with one being a new family friendly route.

The old route stretches for 3.1 miles, the family friendly float will go from River Park Drive to Skull Road which is around 2.5 miles. According to the company, tubers will not be able to go on both routes on the same day.

“We are not going to be allowing alcohol in excess, we are not going to be allowing any rowdy folks,” said Alex Roeber with Texas State Tubes.

Roeber says cooler inspections will be mandatory and loud music will not be allowed. He also adds that the new route should have a positive side effect.

“It will take some of the numbers of people that are on the first stretch that is shared with us and Don’s Fish Camp and put them down a new stretch. We can actually take the numbers and cut them in half and be able to relieve some of the stress on the upper San Marcos River,” said Roeber.

However, inching closer to more homes in Martindale has homeowners downstream starting to feel the concerns those upstream have felt for years.

“I have many friends up the river and the type of activity that they have to see off their riverbank is just inappropriate,” said Bill Glaze who lives right on the river in Martindale. “The drinking, the nudity, the vulgarity is just not acceptable.”

Glaze says he has rarely had an issue with rowdy floaters in front of his home but is still shocked with the decision to allow floaters to go closer to the town.

“I would have never ever believed that it would have come down to Skull Bridge,” said Glaze. “For the first time now, they are at our back door.”

Texas State Tubes says it has hired eight deputies to patrol the river and has shuttles that go to major cities to help cut down on drunk driving.

“At any given Saturday I have 11 or 12 fully packed school buses coming from around the area, Austin, San Marcos, Kyle and Buda,” said Roeber. “Almost half of my customers are now being shuttled in rather than drinking and driving.”

The outfitter says it is also focusing heavily on cleaning up litter. According to the company, they have a cleaning crew out four to five times a week along the five mile stretch of river where people float.

“It’s not without effort, If you continue having patience with us, we will continue to grow and become a better company and create a better experience for everyone,” said Roeber.

During this year’s legislative session, State Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, authored a bill that would help support law enforcement efforts to protect the San Marcos River. SB 965 would have allowed voters in counties along the river to approve the creation of water recreation safety zones where the counties could impose fees of up to $4 per person for rental of water recreation equipment, shuttle service or river ingress or egress service. Funding generated by the fees would have been used to support additional law enforcement in the zones.

 

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