NEAR NEW BRAUNFELS, TX – Nature belongs to all of us, but when it comes to safety, who makes the call?
That’s at the heart of conversations going on for a year now at Lake Dunlap between New Braunfels and Seguin.
Its smooth surface is deceiving: just below lies a treacherous stump field. And like the stump J. Harmon cut down by his dock, the stumps have jagged edges.
“As you can see it has two propeller blades in it,” he says. “That creates a huge impact. It's worse than actually hitting a car head-on in a collision."
It’s an obvious safety hazard so the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority placed “no wake” buoys blocking off a mile and a half of lake water to slow down boat traffic.
That threw all the boat traffic and the recreationalists into a smaller section of the lake and created even a more dangerous environment,” Harmon says.
He runs a group called the Preserve Lake Dunlap Association, and worked with the River Authority for months on a compromise.
“The compromise is to surround the stump field with buoys and allow the other portion of the lake to be used for boats, jetskis, what have you,” Bill West with the River Authority says.
For lake rats, that means buoys will soon be placed down the middle of the water.
“They're going to mark, this is where the stumps are and keep the boat traffic out of them,” Harmon says
The eastern side, with the stump field, will be a marked a “no wake” zone.
“The stump field also represents a fishery,” West says. That's where all the fishermen like to fish."
Meanwhile, faster traffic can drive down the western half, a compromise Harmon says will keep people safe on the water.
“The decisions we're making today affect the future generations from here to come, and we want to make sure we make the right decision,” Harmon says.
The changes go into effect Friday at noon, re-opening a popular part of the lake for the rest of the summer.