San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 23rd, 2013
Memorial Day brings full-scale test for city’s parks alcohol ban

A summer afternoon at Rio Vista Park in 2009. MERCURY FILE PHOTO by SEAN BATURA

A summer afternoon at Rio Vista Park in 2009. MERCURY FILE PHOTO by SEAN BATURA


Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of river-revelers will descend on the city’s string of parks along the San Marcos River this weekend for the first Memorial Day holiday under new rules that include a ban on alcohol and Styrofoam.

Approved by the city council 4-2 last April, the updated parks and natural areas ordinance prohibits fishing with spear guns or gigs within the city limits; authorizes city staff to restrict tents and barbecue pits to areas of the parks they designate (farther away from the river’s edge); and raised the minimum fine for littering to $250 (with a maximum of $500). The rules did not go into effect until Jan. 1 and this summer will be the first full-scale test of their implementation.

The most controversial element of the package, however, was a ban on alcohol in all city parks, including those along the river, and for people lingering along the water’s edge or on dams and spillways like Rio Vista Falls. The state of Texas owns the actual river waterway, however, and tubers, kayakers and canoeists are permitted to consume alcohol in the water — as long as they keep moving.

The city permits alcohol to be brought into and out of the river at two access points: at San Marcos City Park where the Lions Club Tube Rental float starts and at Rio Vista Falls, were the Lions Club tube rental ends.

The city says that more than 200,000 people a year use the city’s riverside parks between Memorial Day and Labor Day based on estimates made by the parks department in 2007 and 2008, the years immediately after the transformation of the old Rio Vista Dam into a three-tiered cascading waterfall.

For information about the rules, visit the San Marcos Convention and Visitors Bureau’s “Keep A Lid On It” website here.

Memorial Day events scheduled in Hays County (to be updated):

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Memorial Day weekend observance

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013

Where: San Marcos City Cemetery

Who: Sponsored by the American Legion Post 144, the annual program is open to the public and includes placement of flags on the graves of veterans buried in the cemetery by members of Boy Scout Troop 112.

Info: Pat Murdock, 512-353-1943

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Memorial Day observance

When: 10 a.m. Monday, May 27

Where: Hays County Veterans Memorial, San Marcos

Who: Public invited to City of San Marcos’ annual Memorial Day ceremony and the reading of the names of Hays County veterans who died in service to their country during wartime.

Info: Lisa Morris, 512-393-8400.

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One thought on “Memorial Day brings full-scale test for city’s parks alcohol ban

  1. It is stupid to allow alcohol on the river. How many accidents, fights, and other alcohol related troubles do we have to put up with.? Let them drink in their own homes. Noise, trash and unruly behavior is what we get.

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