Texas Hill Country News

5 Things to Know About the ‘Can Ban’ Before You Head to New Braunfels

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The official start to Summer 2017 is only a couple of weeks away and there remains a lot of confusion about the so-called “can ban” in New Braunfels. Visitors and locals alike are finding themselves scratching their sunburned scalps over what the current rules are for bringing beverages on the city’s two rivers. Can you or can’t you bring cans onto the rivers?

The Backstory

The 2011 law, dubbed the “can ban,” prohibited disposal food and beverage containers on portions of the rivers. It was implemented after the summer of 2011, which was deemed “River Wild,” because of the substantial amount of litter, arrests, and drownings at the river. Fifty-eight percent of New Braunfels residents supported the can ban and an immediate decrease in litter was noted.

Then, in 2014, a district judge ruled the can ban to be unconstitutional and reversed the ruling, making way for cans and disposable bottles to return to the rivers. The city of New Braunfels immediately appealed that ruling but could do nothing to prevent tubers from bringing cans back to the river.

Now, three years later, Texas 3rd Court of Appeals Justice Bob Pemberton has determined that the district judge who reversed the can ban lacked jurisdiction over the matter. This appeals court ruling paves the way for New Braunfels to reinstate the can ban, which was created to reduce littering on the rivers, according to the Austin American Statesman.

1. You can bring cans…for now.

Tubers Can Ban
Photo: Facebook/Rockin R River Rides

The can ban can’t be enforced until the appellate court issues a mandate by July 28 or sooner. Mayor Barron Casteel said the city will probably reinstate the ban but will allow for an education and grace period, as it has in the past with its ordinances limiting smoking and texting while driving. This likely means that for the entirety of the Summer 2017 tubing season, cans will be allowed on the rivers.

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