We are in our 31st year of putting Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups, families, and individuals on the wonderful San Marcos River. TG Canoes and Kayaks also has a business concession with the city of San Marcos for put-ins and take-outs within the city limits. The left channel of Thompson’s Island is used for these purposes.
TG Canoes and Kayaks’ renters use the left channel, exclusively, to safely navigate and portage around Thompson’s Islands. We require our guests to use the left channel of Thompson’s Islands because it insures their safety while negotiating their way around the island. The left channel is slow moving, beautiful, peaceful, and safe for all our guests to paddle. TG Canoes and Kayaks puts 3,000 canoe and kayak renters down the left side of Thompson’s Island each year. Cape’s Dam makes this possible as it, alone, keeps both sides of the island’s river channels navigable and flowing.
The right channel does not offer a put-in or a take-out since the new concrete bridge was built a few years ago. Also, the new bridge is built low to the water so, during higher water levels, canoes and kayaks cannot go under it. There is not a place available to safely portage around the bridge. It is dangerous. The water in the right channel moves very quickly, in comparison to the river left channel, and has many turns. The right channel has more fallen trees, limbs, and obstacles. Blockage of the right channel poses a serious element of danger to those who do not have real good paddling skills. Scouts, church groups, and families normally do not have draw strokes, pry strokes, and the necessary paddling strokes to catch eddys at will and safely avoid the blockages. The right channel of Thompson’s Island is the only area in the first seven miles of the San Marcos River that consistently gives paddlers problems and, many times, more than they can handle.
The San Marcos River is the most paddled river in the State of Texas. It is used by most major universities, scouts, all sorts of groups, families, and individuals. It offers Texas river paddling at its finest.
Thompson’s Islands needs to be negotiated safely. Cape’s Dam is the reason the left channel flows, making safe passage around the island possible for all paddling recreationists. For the safety of our renters and many thousands of others who paddle the San Marcos River, it is our hope that Cape’s Dam is repaired and remains at the top of Thompson’s Island, allowing the left channel to continue to flow. If Cape’s Dam is removed, the historical left channel and mill race will be paddled, fished, and enjoyed no more.
All this information is to say, the decision on Cape’s Dam needs to include the safety of every San Marcos River paddler and the people that fish and use the left channel of the island. Anything less will end up in needless injuries and even loss of life.
DUANE TE GROTENHUIS
COVER: A canoeist and his young passenger on the San Marcos River in July 2014. FILE PHOTO by PATRICK LEWISEmail | Print