Typical trash pile at Spencer’s

38th Annual Texas River Clean Up

San Marcos River 38th Annual March 4, 2023

On Saturday, March 4, folks 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 (approximately 60 miles). The City of San Marcos will hold their portion of the cleanup, walking the banks of the watershed and the sections of river within the city limits. Those who would like to participate in the upper San Marcos portion of the annual clean up should visit the city website Or contact: AThomaides@sanmarcostx.gov

From San Marcos downstream (all the way to Luling – if we can) canoeists, kayakers and rafters will be cleaning the river and the banks. The information from this point on refers to folks cleaning this downstream portion of the clean up.

WHITEWATER PADDLERS: 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 Staples to Fentress and Stairtown to Luling 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 those sections: sections 5, 7, 8 and 10.

What’s in it for you?

FREE CAMPING! Everyone participating in this event is invited to camp free at either Shady Grove Campground/ Spencer Canoes call: 512-357-6113. Or at the San Marcos River Retreat. Reservations at San Marcos River Retreat are required and will be coordinated by the sections leaders listed below.

FREE BEER! Every volunteer will receive a coupon for a free draft beer from Roughhouse Brewing in San Marcos! Thanks to our sponsor, Roughhouse Brewing, 680 Oakwood Loop, San Marcos, Texas 78666 Tel: 512.667.7000 or email: info@roughhousebrewing.com

FREE T-SHIRT! Every participant will receive a free T-Shirt, we can’t guarantee t-shirt sizes (it will depend on what the City of San Marcos gives us) but we will do our best.

MEAL SATURDAY NIGHT: Saturday March 4, Starting at 5 p.m. BBQ will be served at the chapel at the San Marcos River Retreat. 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.

In order to qualify for these great benefits you must register with a section leader listed below BEFORE Thursday March, 2, 2023.

MEETING TIMES AND SHUTTLES: Everyone is expected to contact the section leader for the stretch of river he or she intends to clean and reserve a spot on that team. That leader will keep a list of volunteers and also make a note of folks who intend to receive a to-go plate of BBQ. The section leader will tell all the members in their group where they will meet on the morning of March 4. At that meeting, trash bags will be handed out and shuttles will be arranged.



1. 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.

  • Section leader: The Eyes of the San Marcos River

2. 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.

  • Section leader: Grace Arianoutsos email: gracegreek@yahoo.com

3. 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.

  • Section Leader: San Marcos River Ranch email: katybrantley@gmail.com

4. Spencer Canoes to Staples – Hwy 1977 (5 miles) Section Full

5. Staples to Fentress – Hwy 20 (9 miles)

  • Section Leader: Dallas Downriver Club, Bryan Jackson, email: FCO@down-river.com

6. Fentress to Prairie Lea 1 (2miles) Some fast moving water; some trees in the river.

  • Section Leader: Susan Eda email: susaneda@mac.com

7. Prairie Lea 1 to Stairtown (5 miles) Some fast moving water; some trees in the river.

  • Section Leader: Josh Sarkardehi, email: jsarkardehi@tallhat1gmail-com

8. Stairtown to Luling – Hwy 90 (6.5miles) Some fast moving water; some trees in the river.

  • Section Leader: Jeannette Burris, email: mmball1@sbcglobal.net

9. Hwy 90 to Zedler Dam (6 mi.) A TPWD paddling trail. Some fast moving water; some trees in the river.

  • Section Leader: Greater Houston Kayakers, Paddlesports & Outdoors Kenny Sharpless email: kenny.sharpless@hotmail.com

10. Zedler Dam to Palmetto State Park (14.4 mi.) Long hard stretch for people with the Water Safari on their mind (in other words, for crazy people).

  • Section Leader: to be announced

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: The San Marcos River Retreat on google maps shows 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 our website at San Marcos River Retreat Tom Goynes tomgoynes@mac.com

Texas River Blog

Fall 2023 TRPA Newsletter

Extreme heat and extreme drought reduces water levels to record levels in our lakes, rivers and streams. Lower water levels have exposed more trash to be removed. Cleanups have collected 100s of tires so far this year. Read on to find out more.

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