navigation bar

River and Environmental Issues

Kayak Paddle

Access Issues on Texas Rivers

navigation bar River descriptions categorized by state First Aid and general safety information Southwest Paddler on-line store Southwest Paddler Yellow Pages listings Environmental issues and concerns Photos of rivers and surrounding areas Trip reports with photos How to advertise on Southwest Paddler Advertiser Index Internet links to related information and services Southwest Paddler visitor comments General disclaimer Product Reviews Federal and state navigation laws Credits for contributors Web Campfire

SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

Texas rivers access is being blocked by private landowners erecting fences on public property to limit or block public access at county, state and federal highway bridges. This web page is dedicated to removing all illegal fences constructed by private landowners that block or limit public access in the rights-of-way alongside highway bridges where they cross rivers.

Specifically, landowners on both sides of the San Marcos River in Gonzales County, Texas have erected illegal barbed wire fences that effectively eliminate public access to the river at the US Highway 90A crossing. Federal and state laws prohibit such construction. Occasionally, an easement may be granted by the state for such fence construction, but the generally accepted uses are for conveyance of natural gas, oil and/or gasoline through pipelines, electric transmission lines and the infrastructure that supports them, as well as similar uses that are for the greater public good. The law does not allow fences to be constructed for the private, commercial interest of private landowners including those who own cattle grazing lands on both sides of a state or federal highway.

The Texas General Land Office has informed me that no easement for the fences at the US Highway 90A bridge in Gonzales County, where the highway crosses the San Marcos River, has been issued. Therefore, no other governmental agency has the right to permit such construction, and it is up to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to enforce the law protecting public rights of access alongside bridges on state and federal highways. It is also up to TxDOT to oversee the removal of illegal fences where they exist in the public right-of-way just as they would be required to do for a fence strung across the roadway itself.

People who canoe, kayak or raft the San Marcos River, or other Texas streams, should be particularly concerned over these illegal fences since our public access to rivers is already severely constrained by the vast amount of private land ownership along our rivers and the very limited amount of public access rights-of-way that we have available for getting to or from a river where we want to paddle. If you have an interest in access to Texas rivers for the recreational or commercial purposes of boating, fishing, swimming or other activities, then you need to become actively involved in this matter by contacting appropriate public officials whose agencies have jurisdiction over such matters.

Below are links to some of the statutes and rules regulating these issues:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Code

If A River Runs Through It, What Law Applies?

For maximum effectiveness interested parties should contact ALL of these elected and appointed representatives to call attention to this serious matter that requires broad participation from all levels of state and federal government. The names and addresses (to the right) for sending letters are:

Boyd Kennedy, Attorney
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
(512) 389-4584

Brian Schoenemann, P.E.
TxDOT, Yoakum District
403 Huck St.
Yoakum, TX 77995-0757
(361) 293-4378

Lonnie J. Gregorcyk, P.E.
TxDOT, Yoakum District
403 Huck St.
Yoakum, TX 77995-0757
(361) 293-4332

A.E. Dabney
Texas General Land Office
1700 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 305-9118

Bob Sweeney, Staff Attorney
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

Major Rolly Correa, Game Warden
3615 S. General Bruce Dr.
Temple, TX 76504

[ River and Environmental Issues Homepage ]

Kayak Paddle

Southwest Paddler
Click to return to the Southwest Paddler Homepage
Home Page

Canoeman River

Guide Services
Return to the homepage
Home Page

CobraGraphics - Web Designs with a Bite!

Send E-mail This web page designed, created and maintained by
Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics
© February 9, 2009. All rights reserved.
Last updated December 31, 2014

Copyright © 1997-2015, Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. All rights reserved. Southwest Paddler, CobraGraphics and Canoeman River Guide Services are trademarks of Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. The textual, graphic, audio, and audio/visual material in this site is protected by United States copyright law and international treaties. You may not copy, distribute, or use these materials except for your personal, non-commercial use. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All original photographs on this web site are the exclusive property of Marc W. McCord or other designated photographers and may not be copied, duplicated, reproduced, distributed or used in any manner without prior written permission under penalty of US and International laws and treaties.