By Megan Wehring
When Texans need an escape from the scorching summer heat, many travel to find a cool spot along the 90-mile San Marcos River. Protecting the natural beauty of the river does not come easy — regular maintenance is needed.
Every spring, volunteer groups work to beautify the upper portion of the San Marcos River and surrounding banks. The city of Kyle is needing volunteers for the 36th Annual Great Texas River Cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon March 6.
“It is important to have the Great Texas River Cleanup to minimize our impact to the river and all of the wildlife and people that depend upon it,” said Virginia Condie, executive director of the San Marcos River Foundation. “Including communities that use the river for their drinking water source. What we don’t pick up along our river banks could be eaten by wildlife or will end up in the ocean where it adversely impacts sensitive estuaries, birds and marine life.”
In an effort to keep all volunteers safe, organizers will not have a headquarters meetup to distribute breakfast tacos and supplies this year. Volunteers will meet with their designated group at their selected site, rather than checking in at a headquarters.
Groups should not exceed more than 10 people — volunteers in Kyle will be able to select one of the cleanup sites listed below or “Other” upon signing up.
• Waterleaf Park – Zone 1 – 628 Abundance Lane
• Waterleaf Park – Zone 2 – 628 Abundance Lane
• Waterleaf Park – Zone 3 – 628 Abundance Lane
• Cool Springs Park and Trail – 115 Florida Springs Drive
• Bunton Creek – 980 Bunton Reserve Boulevard
Volunteers can either choose to pick up supplies from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kyle City Hall between March 1 and March 5 or to have them dropped off to the cleanup site the morning of the event. They will need to text (512) 618-8296 when they arrive at their site.
Once the group has completed cleaning their area, volunteers can text the provided number and a city staff member will drive to the site, collect all bagged trash and distribute pizza vouchers.
All participants are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing at the event.
Aside from the Great Texas River Cleanup, Condie said people can prevent trash from ending up in the river by purchasing items packaged in more natural substances and using reusable grocery bags. Refillable water bottles and laundry/dishwasher pods can also go a long way.
“Every person can make a difference,” Condie told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch. “We appreciate all who gather for the greater good!”