Halloween floods cause temporary campus recreational area closures

By: 

Special to the Star

Several recreation areas on campus have experienced closures as a result of the Halloween rainstorm that caused flooding across Hays County.

According to a Nov. 7 University Star article, Kharley Smith, emergency management coordinator for Hays County, said San Marcos saw between 10 to 12 inches of rain Oct. 31. This caused the Blanco and San Marcos Rivers to rise about 37 feet outside their banks, Smith said.

Many recreation activities around Hays County were temporarily closed due to the magnitude of the rainstorm, and the resulting flood had a negative effect on some university facilities, said Glenn Hanley, director of Campus Recreation.

“We had to shut down the golf course for a week, but there wasn’t any long term damage there,” Hanley said. “Also, we didn’t rent anything at the Outdoor Center at Sewell (Park) until the next weekend.”

The Outdoor Center, located on the south side of Sewell, was forced to shut down for more than a week following the flood.

Meredith Shirley, logistics manager for the Outdoor Center, said she saw the river rise higher than ever before during the Halloween rainstorm.

“The river rose over the pavilion and washed down some of the park,” Shirley said. “We had to reschedule some events, but everything worked out.”

The Outdoor Center rents out recreational equipment including kayaks, tents and snorkels. The flood prevented students from renting equipment for more than a week.

“We were able to start renting on the ninth of November,” Shirley said. “We had to wait for the river to go down and the bacteria levels to subside before recreation could continue.”    

University Camp, located 20 miles away in Wimberley, sits on 126 acres of university-owned land along the Blanco River. The Halloween flood affected the area significantly, Hanley said.

“Flood got up about five feet up into the campsites,” Hanley said. “It took away some picnic tables and trash cans and some chairs, and from upstream it brought some chairs and tables.”

No damages occurred to the three cabins on the property. A volunteer crew cleaned and fixed any damages to areas around the camp on the Saturday following the flood, Hanley said.