FORT WORTH, Texas --
Officials with the Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are seeking assistance from the recreating public to ensure continued safe operation of the 25 lake projects the district operates.
“I want to thank visitors to our 25 lakes across the state of Texas within the Fort Worth District for your patience as we continue to implement what might be inconvenient but necessary measures to ensure public safety and to avoid any additional park closures,” said Tim MacAllister, the district’s chief of operations.
According to MacAllister, there are several unpleasant but real issues that factor into the district’s decision to close areas or limit numbers of visitor to our lake sites. These issues put strain on staff, visitors and the resources we all want to protect and enjoy, but can easily be alleviated by using better habits and recreating responsibly.
Littering remains a serious problem at Corps facilities and partners around the state continue to be a valuable asset to combat this issue.
For example, the Corps has solicited the assistance of partners such as The Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County which provides contracted cleanup services at some of the Corps of Engineers recreational areas at Canyon Lake, including Overlook Park and the Guadalupe River shoreline, just below the Guadalupe Trail areas.
“Since April 2020, we have more than doubled our scheduled clean ups and costs in these areas to deal with the trash left behind from the huge number of daily visitors,” said WORD general manager of Comal County, Mike Dussere.
Similar to other Lakes operated by the Fort Worth District, Whitney Lake has encountered areas of concern and have closed two of its day use areas; Soldiers Bluff and Walling Bend Park as a result.
According to the Bosque County Sheriff’s office, there have been large numbers of people in areas they patrol which has contributed to an abundance of trash build up. The patrol officers have also encountered an unusually high number of underage drinkers in the areas as well.
“There are several other unpleasant but real issues that factor into the district’s decision to shut down or limit the numbers of visitor to our lake sites,” says MacAllister. These include:
- Parking in non-designated areas. This causes limited access to facilities by staff and emergency responders and thereby hindering public and life safety.
- Lack of compliance with safe boating and water safety guidelines.
- Vandalism. Large amounts of vandalism to recreational and security areas results in expending limited resources to replace damaged and broken equipment.
- Environmental Stewardship neglect. Natural resources are being destroyed by not practicing sound environmental stewardship; i.e. unauthorized vehicle use in unauthorized areas, destroying vegetation.
- Unsanitary actions while in and around the water and park areas.
The Corps and its partners want everyone to do their part to maintain a safe and enjoyable experience when visiting one of the 25 lakes and associated recreational areas within the state of Texas.
“It is always important to wear a life jacket when in, on, or near the water and don't ask others to do things that might make them exceed their swimming ability and drown. There are drop-offs, currents, and underwater debris that make swimming in open water and rivers very different than swimming at a beach or pool so wearing a life jacket drastically increases your chances of survival,” MacAllister explained.
Questions pertaining to concerns with environmental stewardship may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 817-886-1306.
Visit the Fort Worth District Web site at: www.swf.usace.army.mil and social media at: https://about.me/usacefortworth