Parks Department: Take Down That Fence

When is a Public Boat Launch Not a Public Boat Launch?

Nov. 6, 2014

A boat launch is no longer a boat launch after the City spends $1.3 million designing, building, and landscaping it and doesn’t include access for the people and their boats.

That’s the explanation from representatives of the parks department and the Uptown TIRZ 16 for why the once-popular official Parks and Wildlife boat launch at Woodway in our Memorial Park remains fenced-off and closed to the public more than six months after it was transformed into a massive drainage outfall.

The maintenance ramp cleared of mud at the Woodway not-a-boat launch on Nov. 1, 2014. It's not safe for people, says the City.

The maintenance ramp cleared of mud at the Woodway not-a-boat launch on Nov. 1, 2014. It’s not safe for people, says the City.

Coincidentally, being able to put in at Woodway allows the public to float down Buffalo Bayou through the historic natural area that the City and County want to obliterate. That nearly 1.5-mile stretch of the river further downstream is one of the last remaining wild reaches of our 18,000-year-old mother bayou. So keeping the put-in closed makes it more difficult for people to see the majestic very old cliffs, lovely forested banks, and sandy beaches of this little known wilderness area that will be destroyed.

Officially it’s not a boat launch at all, which is why it is closed, although it might be a boat launch again sometime in the future, according to Rick Dewees, assistant parks department director in charge of Memorial Park, and Sarah Newbery, the Uptown TIRZ 16 project director for the Memorial Park Master Plan. The Uptown TIRZ 16 financed the project at Woodway with taxpayer funds.

But wait, what’s that gently sloping, winding paved ramp leading down to the water?

That’s not for people; that’s only for maintenance trucks, said Dewees. Newbery agreed.

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