On Saturday, March 2, 2024, paddlers from all over Texas will be participating in the world’s longest river clean up. We will be picking up trash along most of the San Marcos River (60- 90 miles depending on how many canoe racers show up). From just downstream of San Marcos, all the way to Gonzales, canoeists, kayakers and rafters will be cleaning the river and the banks. The paddling portion of this event is for experienced paddlers only, with their own boats and who are members of paddling groups who have adopted various sections of river.
I need a few good men, and women, and scouts, and pretty much anyone who wants to help, to clean up some of the bridges and parks along the river. I really need some leaders (scoutmasters, churches, community activists) who are willing to adopt a bridge or park to contact me and volunteer to coordinate the clean up of each of these hot spots. Cleaning these parks and bridges on foot allows the paddlers to get on and off the river quicker – which allows them more time to clean the river that isn’t accessible on foot.
There are some sections of river that require whitewater skills. For those sections, only persons capable of handling a canoe full of trash in whitewater should volunteer. This is primarily for section 2, 7 and 8.
CANOE RACING ENTHUSIASTS
Some sections of river, like Luling to Gonzales, have long stretches with few bridge crossings and for that reason, we are asking canoe racers (especially teams that have competed in the Texas Water Safari) to volunteer for section 10.
Paddlers participating in this event are invited to camp free at either Shady Grove Campground/ Spencer Canoes (they are offering one free night of camping for volunteers) or at the San Marcos River Retreat Reservations required. For Shady Grove call: 512-357-6113. For the San Marcos River Retreat e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 512-787-5574 (if you are not a member of the TRPA you may have to text me or leave a voicemail).
MEAL SATURDAY NIGHT, March 2!
Starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday evening there will be a BBQ at the chapel at the San Marcos River Retreat. We are asking that everyone who wants to eat to register with their section leader by February 28. We are also asking folks to please bring a plate, a cup, and utensils (we are trying to generate less trash). We are asking anyone who would like to provide a dessert (either a Dutch oven or baked good) to please bring it.
MEETING TIMES AND SHUTTLES
Paddlers are required to contact the section leader for the section of river he or she intends to clean and reserve a spot on that team. Many of these sections are will only be open to members of the club that has adopted that section. That leader will keep a list of volunteers and also make a note of folks who intend to eat BBQ. The section leader will tell all the members in their group where they will meet on the morning of March 2. At that meeting, trash bags will be handed out and shuttles will be arranged.
PRE-REGISTRATION: IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN THIS EVENT PRE-REGISTER BY WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28 (ESPECIALLY IF YOU WANT TO EAT BBQ). YOU MUST CONTACT A SECTION LEADER TO PRE-REGISTER. AND YOU SHOULD LET THE LEADER KNOW IF YOU CHANGE YOUR PLANS AND CAN’T PARTICIPATE.
RIVER SECTION LISTINGS:
- Thompson’s Island to The San Marcos River Retreat (3.5 miles): This is an all day clean up, volunteers should plan on being on the river until about 4 p.m. Volunteers are guaranteed to experience trash jams that resemble the trash compactor (complete with monster) from the original Star Wars movie. This section of river is not recommended for the faint of heart. Due to the fact that the City of San Marcos has closed the put in at Thompson’s Island, this section may not be cleaned this year. We will provide updated info if things change. Possible new section: Up and back trip from San Marcos River Retreat. There has been some interest in cleaning the river upstream from the Retreat to Cummings Dam and back down. We will update this information as the event approaches.
- San Marcos River Retreat to Sculls Crossing (4 miles): This is a whitewater section of river. If you don’t know what a draw is, don’t choose this section. Several groups and canoe clubs will be cleaning this
section. Section coordinator: Grace Arianoutsos email@example.com
- Sculls Crossing to Spencer Canoes (2 mi.): This section involves carrying your canoe around Martindale Dam and a little bit of moving water from the dam to Spencer Canoes. This section has been adopted by the San Marcos River Ranch, Katy Brantley firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Spencer Canoes to Staples – Hwy 1977 (5 miles): This section is being cleaned by the Informal River Bureaucracy (aka Jeff Pine and friends) and they have enough volunteers
- Staples to Fentress – Hwy 20 (9 miles): Section Leader: Dallas Downriver Club
- Fentress to Prairie Lea (1.2 miles): Some fast moving water; some trees in the river. Section Leader: Susan Eda email@example.com
- Prairie Lea to Stairtown (5 miles): Some fast moving water; some trees in the river. Section Leader: Josh Sarkardehi, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stairtown to Luling – Hwy 90 (6.5 miles): Some fast moving water; some trees in the river. Section Leader: Jeannette Burris, email@example.com
- Hwy 90 to Zedler Dam (6 mi.) A TPWD paddling trail. Some fast moving water; some trees in the river. Section Leader: Kayaking Houston. Kenny Sharpless firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zedler Dam to Gonzales (a long way): Long hard stretch for people with the Water Safari on their mind (in other words, for crazy people). Section Leader: email@example.com.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS to the San Marcos River Retreat. On google maps we show up as the “San Marcos River Scout Camp.” Coming from Interstate 35 in San Marcos, get on Highway 80 and head toward Luling for 1.8 miles. Take a right on county road 101. Take an immediate left onto county road 102. Go 1/2 mile on 102 and take a right on Pecan Park road. Keep going straight (past TG Canoes and Kayaks) and the road will end at the San Marcos River Retreat office. For more info visit the website: San Marcos River Retreat.
Clean up Coordinator: Tom Goynes firstname.lastname@example.org
The annual TRPA meeting will be held on Sunday March 3, 10:00 AM at the San Marcos River Retreat. All members are welcome. There will be lunch.