Is SMGA Cutting Down Trees?

Several weeks ago the volunteer trail crew  received a message written in chalk on one of the benches in Prospect Park. It said (roughly) ‘stop cutting down trees. They are needed for habitat’.

Since the message was written in chalk (and not spray paint) and it showed a concern for the park, we would like to reply.

We have taken out many ligustrum and small ash junipers from the park--perhaps as many as three hundred. We hope to take more. We do this because ligustrum is an invasive which stops the growth of grasses and other flora in the understory. It also inhibits the growth of trees we do want, such as oaks and mountain laurels. In laying down the uprooted ligustrum we also hope to create a good habitat for small mammals such as squirrels.

We would also like our correspondent to know that we carry out these activities with the approval of the City, and we follow the advice of an experienced field biologist who tours the park with us about once a year to give us suggestions.

If we may make a suggestion to our concerned friend, use the web site to send us messages. With the blessed return of rain we could well miss the next message in chalk.

Capes Camp Update: A bit of history

From Dianne Wassenich with the San Marcos River Foundation, an excellent history of the Capes Camp/Stokes Park Area and update on Tuesday's P&Z meeting

TUESDAY NIGHT P&Z: San Marcans, including a lot of neighborhood folks from the east side, did a great job last night expressing their concerns to P&Z respectfully, regarding the apartments proposed for Cape's Camp. They spoke powerfully about the master plan process which has found many places to locate apartments, more than enough places for our expected growth for decades, none of which are on the river. They spoke about the east side needing a park that is actually a park, not a floodway. And they spoke about the dangers inherent in placing a 1,000 bedroom apartment complex on the river, where security would be difficult at night in the park if it became a party site. And where the built-up flood plain land the apartments would be built on, up to three stories high, would impede floodwater flows down the long streets of the nearby neighborhood, like Barbara, Linda and Conway, toward the San Marcos River. And of course, the flood dangers to the apartment dwellers, near a road crossing that floods too

I explained the story of our how existing river parks were created 50 years ago, by moving entire neighborhoods of people out of the flood plain, to higher locations at great taxpayer cost and emotional cost. Many moved east of IH 35. These eastern neighborhoods have not had walking access to the existing river park systems for 50 years, and still won't after the trail segment proposed to run from 35 to Cape Road is built with the apartment project. They have to run across a feeder road of IH 35 where cars are going 50 mph, to get to Rio Vista or other parks. These east side folks need a real river park east of IH 35, not a floodway. Some people also objected to the tiny existing Stokes Park being made into a parking lot as mentioned in the apartment plan. ( I wonder how that can be done on that open space that turns into a mudhole during wet weather, since a spring or ancient river route pours water through that open field at times. The wet spots already killed several trees there.)

I asked that the commissioners look at a flood plain map, and compare it to the land that people's homes were removed from, in order to make our existing parks. And then compare that to the apartments now being proposed on land very near the river, and mostly in the flood plain. I fear that the commissioners have not been informed about where the flood plain lines are, on this property, and they need to know that in order to decide if rezoning is what they want to do. In the brief discussion after the public hearing, some of the commissioners expressed their deep concern with issues citizens brought up. They will have it on their agenda at their next meeting, but at least some of them do not want to vote on this until after the Nov. 6th election for Proposition 1. Please continue to write them with your thoughts on the matter at, and you can copy the at the same time, since it will go to Council after P&Z. For more info regarding Support for Proposition 1 visit

Upcoming Dates:
October 23rd - Capes Camp on the P&Z agenda
November 6th - Election Day

Great Streets for Small Towns, October 25

Central Texas Transportation Policy Symposium Series

Texas State University-San Marcos
Center for Research, Public Policy, and Training (CRPPT)
Undergraduate Academic Center Room 308
October 25, 2012, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Purpose: Small towns across America are rediscovering the value of great streets to help spur economic development, connect neighborhoods, and enhance the unique characteristics of small town living. National and local experts provide an overview of the advantages and challenges of incorporating great streets in small towns and show how Texas communities can and are benefiting from time-tested great street designs.

For more information visit

Capes Camp Area Parks - Get Involved!

The good people who have quickly formed River Parks for San Marcos (RP4SM), a special purpose committee in support of proposition one on the November ballot, have been doing their best to get the word out about the need for strong support for prop one. This proposition is a non-binding resolution to acquire the land most of us know as Capes Camp and Thompson's Island (La Isla to many) and the surrounding land along the river east of IH35. A strong showing of support will give our zoning commissioners and city council the confirmation and political support they need to fend off other ideas for that land including a rezoning to multifamily for apartments.
  1. Spread the word using your voice in conversation with friends and neighbors, coworkers and members of your church.
  2. Or use the social media of your choice.  There are lots of angles to this issue but you can send people to the website to learn more.
  3. Support the River Parks for San Marcos group by going to the website and clicking on the "Get Involved" button.
  4. Vote on November 6.
Here is what one member of SMGA had to say about this potential parkland:

The folks who live in and love San Marcos have hoped for, have expected, that one day Capes Camp and Thompson's Island would complete the river parks system that has made San Marcos such a great place. Every parks and open space master plan, generated by the voices of citizens, both city and county, has called for two top priorities: more river access and a regional park on the east side of the interstate. There is no other use for this property that makes sense to anyone who cares about the vitality of our economy or our ecology or the legacy we will leave. This is a key moment in our city's history. Either we grow the parks along the river we love or we let it become nothing more than a fenced backyard to more apartments.

Outdoor Recreation Economy Report: An Economic Giant

"The Outdoor Recreation Economy" Report

OIA report cover

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has released its newest economic study, which details the role that outdoor recreation plays as a major economic driver in the United States. This was a hot topic at the Outdoor Retailer's Summer Market held in Salt Lake City in early August. Outdoor recreation accounts for $646 billion in spending that each year supports 6.1 million direct jobs and $80 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue. This underscores the need for investment by the Federal Government in programs that bolster opportunities for consumers to participate in outdoor recreational activities. Learn more and download the full report... 

San Marcos Bluebonnet Lions Nut Fundraiser - Orders due by October 15th

It's that time of the year again when all the nuts are falling from the trees.

San Marcos Bluebonnet Lions Club, besides selling Pecan Halves and Pieces in 1 pound bags, are also selling Raw Whole Almonds and English Walnut Halves and Pieces, in one pound bags.

In order to get the nuts here in plenty of time for holiday baking, pre-orders are due October 15, 2012. Please contact your favorite Bluebonnet Lion right now to place your order. They will only order one time to save on the shipping and handling expenses so we can return more money to the community. All money raised is donated back into the community of San Marcos and Lions Charities. More prices and ordering information visit

Upcoming Community Events

Nature Center Plant Sale, October 13, 9 am - 5 pm
This Saturday, stop by the San Marcos Nature Center to purchase shrubs and trees, and lots of natives. All proceeds go to the Center's programs.

There are a variety of new programs offered at the Nature Center. Find out more at

Watershed Workshop, October 23
Register now for the Watershed Workshop, which will be on October 23rd from 8am-4pm at the City of San Marcos Recreation Center on 170 Charles Austin Drive in San Marcos.(Next to Lions Tube Rental) The workshop is FREE and open to anyone interested in watersheds and water quality, especially riverside landowners. A speaker from the Meadows Center (formerly River Systems Institute) will close out the day by talking specifically about current and future watershed planning efforts here for Spring Lake and the San Marcos River.   The deadline is Oct. 19 for pre-registraton.  It is likely to fill up, so pre-register now at .