Closure of scenic Canyon Lake Dam walkway met with furious reaction

Hill Country

CANYON LAKE, Texas (KXAN) — A popular walking trail in Canyon Lake is no longer open to the public.

The US Army Corps of Engineers shut down the Canyon Lake dam service road on Monday citing safety concerns.  

Stretching almost a mile, tourists and locals have been visiting the Comal County dam for years walking from one side to the other. On one side of the dam, visitors have a view of the lake and, on the other side, the Guadalupe River.  

“I think it sucks because I’m not even allowed to go out there and walk my dog on the dam anymore,” said Canyon Lake resident Lane Brieden. 

Locals showed up for their morning walk on Wednesday and were turned away. “I enjoy it as does a lot of other folks,” said Jim Mulligan. “It’s a big attraction and they are being denied the opportunity to use it. I wish it hadn’t happened.”

Park rangers say the path had to be closed after a complaint was filed claiming the dam isn’t accessible for people in wheelchairs. 

“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,” said Canyon Lake Lead Ranger Terri Teaschner. 

Dam Service Road at Canyon Lake closed on May 23, 2018. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)

To reopen, the path the road would likely have to be widened and handrails would need to be added. 

“I am being told that we will not reopen it until there are some sort of safety measures put in place,” said Teaschner. “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.”

The closure comes just days before one of the busiest weekends on the lake as people celebrate Memorial Day. Even though other trails leading to the water are open to the public, many locals say they won’t sit idly by.

A petition to reopen the road was created and within hours garnered over a thousand signatures. 

“This was really triggered because of a complaint for access. We haven’t had any of the same type of complaints going down to the water here at Overlook Park,” said Teaschner.

Park rangers ask all visitors to respect the barriers or face a ticket for trespassing. 

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