Parks Council considers long-term management of watercraft on Lady Bird Lake

Monday December 6, 2021 by Amy Smith

Concession operations at Town Lake Metropolitan Park, which includes recreation sites along Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Park, provided approximately $ 750,000 in revenue to the city’s general fund in 2021.

In large part, this is due to the increase in Austin’s population as well as the greater number of people in general enjoying outdoor activities this year.

“We know anecdotally that there have been many more boats on the lake in the past two summers when thousands of Austinians have taken to the water in search of safe outdoor recreation options. during Covid, “said Margaret Stenz of the Parks and Recreation Department at Parks and Recreation. Council last week. “But even before Covid, boating on Lady Bird Lake was one of the most popular activities in Austin for residents and tourists alike.”

The increase in boating activity on the lake, as well as boaters using their own personal watercraft, has been a concern for the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Environment Commission for some time.

The parks council officially accepted the annual report on the PARD concessions with a resolution, presented by council member Nina Rinaldi, advising the parks service to continue working with the watershed protection service and the service of Austin Fire Department to research the regulations and code governing boat capacity on Lady Bird Lake.

The resolution calls on PARD to work with Watershed Protection to study the impacts of watercraft on the lake, covering erosion patterns, environmental impacts, water quality and waste reduction.

Council members expressed concern about the large number of people on the lake at the same time, creating traffic jams in high traffic areas and raising fears of collisions between boats or other types of craft.

The resolution also calls on PARD to explore the extension of navigation concessions along Lady Bird Lake to extend east of Austin, and to continue to work with the Austin Rowing Center to identify another location, given the ongoing construction of the Blue Line tram east of the city center. where the CRA is currently located.

Photo made available via a Creative Commons license.

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