WHAT?!?! New Braunfels May Bans Beer Cans on the River

Categories: Texas

tubecans.jpg
An endangered Texas tradition
Tubing down the rivers in New Braunfels with a six-pack of beers and a group of good friends is a tradition most Texans have come to love, but as the summer comes to the end, the City of New Braunfels is considering a proposal that could easily anger tubers all around central Texas.

They want to ban beer cans on the rivers. Well, any kind of cans or disposable drink containers, but beer cans. On the Guadalupe! (And Comal!)

The New Braunfels City Council is voting tonight for the second time this month on a proposition to ban all disposable containers on either river while within city limits. If passed, this ban could result in a fine of up to $500 for anyone in possession of a disposable item, and an end to a ritual nearly as old as the river itself.

A huge crowd is expected, and the meeting has been moved to a larger location to handle it.

Although there is the argument that this proposal is a direct prohibition of alcoholic beverage consumption while on the river, City Council claims that these measures are being taken due to the large amount of litter that is disposed into the rivers each year. The Agenda Item Report states that because of the excessive littering, the city "has spent thousands of dollars and numerous man-hours in its attempts to keep the Rivers clean."

While this very well could be true, the previous restrictions placed in 2007 that limit the size of coolers admitted onto the rivers have already caused the city to station nearly 40 officers from the New Braunfels Police Department around the rivers to enforce the rules. There is no telling how many more officers will be needed in order to monitor every cooler entering the city limits, nor how much stationing these extra officers would cost the department, which is already over budget for river operations.

Mayor Gale Pospisil did not return our phone call, but city council has held fast to their claim that the ordinance is based simply on the desire to stifle littering, but with the amendments to the latest reading, that assertion is hard to believe. The revised rule limits the definition of a banned disposable container to include only objects containing food or beverages. This statement, in accordance with the previously enacted state law against open containers, makes it nearly impossible for alcoholic beverages to be brought onto the rivers.

If passed, there is worry that the ban will cause problems for local businesses who make their money from riverside attractions. An employee from Texas Tubes, a company located on the Comal River shoreline just within the city limits, tells Hair Balls the ban "will have a big effect on business."

The company offers tube rentals with equipment that is already loaded with ice chests. The employee said "as a courtesy, we will probably try to look in these coolers more often," in attempts to limit the carrying of disposable containers onto the river.

There is no telling if the proposed ordinance will be voted to pass tonight, but one thing is certain: If passed, this could mean the end to a drunken tubing era.

Update: They did it. The ban passed city council 5-1. As KSAT reports:

Under the ordinance which will go into effect January 1, 2012, all disposable food and beverage containers including beer cans, water bottles, plastic food bags, plastic silverware and even kids' juice boxes will no longer be allowed on the waterways inside the city limits.
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35 comments
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BeautyBelle
BeautyBelle

My problem is with some of the tubers, who, after having a few too many beers, don't clean up after themselves. It's not necessary to drink a beer while you tube, it's just as fun to just tube at all. Teenagers have proved that one. What I don't get is why so many people don't understand how there's always going to be good things and bad things to these types of situations, however, this town's economy isn't based strictly on alcohol sales. People don't just come here for tubing, though that is a big part of the tourism. I say go for it, if it doesn't work, everyone who says no to the ban can work to repeal it. It's not as big of a deal as everyone is making it out to be.

EdinNewB
EdinNewB

Having lived in the "Socialist Republic of New Braunfels" for about 7 years now this ban does not surprise me.  Believe me, the little inbred group of "original families" don't want you tubers here.  They've already got plenty of money and are not interested in "outsiders" being successful here and challenging their hegemony.  They're in control and plan on staying that way.  They want retirees who'll browse their junk shops (antique stores), have an early dinner and be off the streets by 9:PM.  Go somewhere where you're welcome and can have fun.  Fun is discouraged here.  Do you remember Willy Nelsons song "I'm my own grandpa"?  He was singing about New Braunfels.  I'm married to an "original family" member (my cross to bear) and know whereof I speak.

Razzcarabear
Razzcarabear

 People are so stupid. The ones that are complaining about this don't seem to understand that you can still bring alcohol and water but in NONdisposable containers. Some tourists are talking about not coming here anymore on their vacations which is fine by me. Hopefully this weeds out alot of the idiots that trash our town. :D

Crazamora
Crazamora

No, Hon, the City of New Braunfels is stupid. Some tourists?  I will be surprised if five percent of the normal tourist crowd returns to NB.  Vacations are about relaxing and having a good time, not trying to figure out an ingenious way to remain hydrated or to have a beer in the rapids. New Braunfels has taken its tourist industry for granted for far too long and this last tidbit of insanity proves that you deserve whatever fate you have coming.  Other, smarter cities take great pains and spend large amounts of money to attract tourism to support their community. People are attracted to the Comal and the Guadalupe because it is fun to play in the rivers, not to spend time in New Braunfels. Who wants to worry about non-disposable containers? Good luck finding enough idiots to give you jobs when your economy dries up, perhaps you will appreciate us then. Though you might want to leave New Braunfels off of your resume, because it will be synonymous with idiocy in the rest of the state.

Jdylhuizen
Jdylhuizen

 I'm sure your town will do just fine without the tourism. And the groups that volunteer to clean the river FOR FREE yet still spend loads of money in your little slice of heaven.

BrentC
BrentC

"Tubing down the rivers in New Braunfels with a six-pack of beers and a group of good friends is a tradition MOST Texans have come to love".=================================I think that's a bit of a broad statement.   I imagine if you asked a lot of Texans they'd tell you they couldn't give a flip.

pothed
pothed

You are mistaken and blind.

chef504
chef504

I am curious to know what their definition of disposable entails? Anything small enough to be carried on a river trip by humans is fucking disposable. No water on the hot ass river. No snacks on the river. WTF!!! There are so many other solutions to the problem than this blatant ban on alcohol and fun. I have said it before and I'll say it again; " I fucking hate Texas"! City councils run by a bunch of church ladies. Rough and tough state my ass! The only thing rough and tumble in this state is how you feel after being fucked over by the laws in Texas.    

Erdinderdin
Erdinderdin

Seems way shortsighted to me too. But hey, what's so wrong with bringing a Nalgene bottle filled with a liquor of your choice? That would get the job done...

GiveAHootDon'tPollute
GiveAHootDon'tPollute

This isn't about alcohol morons... This is about littering jerks that ruin things for everyone else. If it was about alcohol, they would instead move towards giving out more tickets for PIs (Public Intoxications), and MIPs (Minor in Possession).  From the looks of this new ordinance, they seem to be stressing the word "disposable".  It sounds like people could just switch to floating a mini-keg and use normal cups (non-disposable) and be clear of any violations.  Stop whining that your precious debauchery is being attacked. 

Bill W
Bill W

About time for another meeting huh ?

Crazamora
Crazamora

It's a shame that New Braunfels wants to become a ghost town.  We have enjoyed many a weekend tubing there and I cannot imagine trying to tube down the river in the heat without so much as a bottle of water. Some lucky entrepreneur will make lots of money if they set up shop  near town selling moving boxes and lumber for boarding the windows of the shops that will quickly go out of business when all of the tubers bypass New Braunfels next year and head straight for the Frio. Civic groups and divers volunteer to clean the river on a regular basis, and if there were more trash boats available, the tubers would be less likely to pollute. New Braunfels is sadly mistaken if they think that people will flock to their town to listen to polka bands and eat German sausage instead of enjoying the rivers.

Razzcarabear
Razzcarabear

Ghosttown? Please don't tempt and tease with dreams and fantasies..

CMN
CMN

won't the tube rental companies just move a few hundred yards up river and make their exit points right before NB city limits?  the city of NB will still be the happy recipient of plenty of empty beer cans that float down from out of the city, they just won't get the tourism revenue.

Wikkits
Wikkits

looks like the city council did not like their jobs...  hopefully the business that depend on tourism can survive until the next election... 

Wes Hightower
Wes Hightower

Kneejerk idiocy. The NB council is known for it.

Horseshoe Tuber
Horseshoe Tuber

The New Braunfels City Limits ruling will only effect the Comal Tubers. What's ironic is all the trash from the Guadalupe Tubers will still flow through the city limits.

Hoodoo2222
Hoodoo2222

This is going to cost the city. Not only with increased enforcement costs but lot's of sales revenue as people will just go elsewhere to spend their money.

S_bolodar18
S_bolodar18

Make it an accountability issue. I have never floated either river my self but would love to one day....why not have officials account for beer cans in each cooler, slap some kind of water proof tag on the cooler and fine anyone not having the same amount of cans as they started with.....seems simple enough....but like I said I've never actually floated the river so don't know how the logistics would work....

Jdykhuizen
Jdykhuizen

They don't pay The Bay Area Council of Dive Clubs to clean the river every year, and if we no longer come to New Braunfels for Trashfest Evert year the city will lose the money they gain from the money we spend while there. Big mistake City Council!

Jdykhuizen
Jdykhuizen

Every year...typing on my phone.

rob
rob

guess i'll have to bring more pills and weed

LC
LC

What are all "the girls" going to do now?

Woops
Woops

As a courtesy, how about tube rental places do a better job of keeping those mesh garbage bags in stock. Personally, I've gone tubing and not had those handy things so have had to resort to putting the empties back in the cooler. Even with the best of intentions, right at the end, with the cooler all empty, a rapid topples the cooler and all the empties go into the river despite trying to gather them. I'm guilty, and I'm sorry, river gods. I didn't mean to do it!!

Woops
Woops

With the cooler all *light, not empty. Because it has our garbage in it.

texas-ex
texas-ex

I hope you swam around to pick up as much of your trash as you could, and you dont bring your own trash bags?!?

Woops
Woops

The mesh ones are good for tying and letting drag in the river. No, I don't bring those because I don't know where you get those. Plastic trash bags would not work at all in the river.

Schwarzestiefel
Schwarzestiefel

Great, just another fun thing in life that assholes ruin.  How about we just ship littering assholes to some dry county in the Panhandle for a year instead?

jimbo
jimbo

one word .... keg!

rgwalt
rgwalt

While the city council may also have an interest in limiting alcohol consumption on the river, I have seen the aftermath of a major holiday weekend of tubing.  The amount of trash in the river is appalling!  If the people using the river are unwilling to take care of the habitat by disposing of their trash properly, then I can't say I blame the city's move to ban disposable containers.

That being said, I think the city could take small steps to meet the public part way by placing trash dumpsters along the river.  Unfortunately there aren't always spots to place dumpsters that are easily accessable by road.  It is a tough situation, but when all is said and done, the public isn't taking care of THEIR river and is polluting the river for those downstream.  Seems like a good move to me.

Darkelf0302
Darkelf0302

Why did you move there then, everyone know that NB is the pce to party in the summer time. I say move if you dont like it.

Crazamora
Crazamora

I agree that people should not pollute, but you actually want to go on record and say you think this is a good move? How does destroying an entire town and it's suburbs equate to being a good move? Over four hundred divers volunteer to do underwater clean-up during Trashfest in October FOR FREE!  In addition to providing this valuable conservation service, the divers PAY to stay in the local hotels and inns, eat at the local restaurants, and shop at the local stores.  More precautions like mesh bags at tube rentals and trash boats should be implemented, not banning disposable containers. The NB City Council has made a very short-sighted and fatal decision.

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