Posted on July 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- For tourists who tube down the Guadalupe River, it's a way to take it easy.
Fewer tourists floated down the river this Fourth of July, according to Matthew Hoyt, owner of Corner Tubes in New Braunfels. "There's a lot of factors that could be related to - certainly it being a Wednesday," he said.
While that may be one factor, there’s another possibility. Business owners along the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers believe confusion over the “can ban” may be partially to blame for the lower numbers of visitors this year.
Hoyt says some tourists wrongly believe there's a complete ban on alcohol on the river. That's not the case.
"No one tells you the same rules," said Paul Huggins, one of Hoyt’s customers. Huggins says he was told he could bring cans to the river, as long as there was a place to store them.
"Now we got to put beer in this to float down the river," he said, pointing to a non-disposable beverage cooler.
The city of New Braunfels has banned disposable containers within city limits, not the beverages themselves. That includes the entire Comal River, but not all of the Guadalupe.
Joshua Holzworth and his family were visiting from Houston. "Oh I think that's great - keep it clean for when my kids grow up. I grew up out here. I grew up vacationing out here," he said.
Hoyt says he and his customers appreciate seeing a cleaner Guadalupe River. "We have a lot of children that come here, and they don't deserve to see beer cans in the river floating around and in the bottom, covering up the bottom of the river - that's not OK," he said.
Shane Wolf is the general manager of Rockin' R River Rides. He says crowd numbers this Fourth of July were good, but not what he had hoped to see.
He suspects a mid-week Independence Day kept people away. Wolf also thinks confusion over the can ban had a role, and he's gotten some complaints from customers. "Some of 'em don't like to hear it at all,” he said.
Like Hoyt, Wolf is happy to see a cleaner Guadalupe River. But he’s still against the can ban. In fact, he's part of a group that's suing the City of New Braunfels.
"My personal thoughts are that the city's overreached its police powers in telling us what we can and can't take on the rivers. I'm all for a clean environment - don't get me wrong - and I'm all for better behavior; I mean, we have to deal with all the individuals more than anyone else does so that only makes sense from that standpoint of it. But they've overstepped their boundaries a little bit, we believe, and time will tell," he said.
Both Wolf and Hoyt say clearing up any misinformation about the can ban will help bring more tourists to the rivers.
For more information on the can ban, click here.