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Public Outcry Over Closure of Scenic Canyon Lake Dam Walkway

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In an attempt to keep a popular Texas Hill Country walking trail at Canyon Lake dam open to the public, concerned citizens have been signing a petition to counteract the recent closure by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Due to safety concerns, the Canyon Lake dam service road was shut down on Monday, May 21, and since then, close to 15,000 names (the target for the petition) have signed in response.

According to area residents interviewed by KXAN, the service road extends for close to a mile. Locals and tourists alike have been visiting the dam for years, taking in great views of Canyon Lake as well as the Guadalupe River, from one side to the other. “I think it sucks because I’m not even allowed to go out there and walk my dog on the dam anymore,” exclaimed one area resident.

Scenic Canyon Lake Dam Walkway Closed Due to Safety Concerns Causing Public Outcry

Photo: Facebook/Al Cannistra

Park rangers have stated that the path was closed due to a formal complaint which was filed citing that the dam wasn’t accessible for those in wheelchairs. Area residents who showed up for their morning walk on Wednesday, May 23, were turned away, as a result. “The top of the dam was never designed for pedestrian access or wheeled access; people on bicycles, wheelchairs, skateboards, because there are no guardrails or safety features on the top,” explained Canyon Lake Lead Ranger Terri Teaschner. In order to meet safety requirements and reopen the path, the road could potentially require widening and the addition of handrails. According to Teaschner, this current measure is for the protection of the public, stating, “I am being told that we will not reopen it until there are some sort of safety measures put in place. We’re trying to strike this balance between allowing people to have access and also trying to protect people as well and for safety reasons.”

Although other trails leading to Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe remained open, many residents have stated that they’re not going to simply sit back and take it. Within hours of its creation, the petition to keep the walking path at Canyon Lake dam open had gathered over a thousand signatures. It’s goal of 15,000 is now close to being reached within a week’s time. Organizers will be looking to file it shortly afterward and seek an official response and course of action. In the meantime, park rangers have asked that walkers in the area respect the barriers, the consequence being a ticket for trespassing if they’re circumvented.