Changes could be coming to one of Calhoun County’s most popular destinations, Magnolia Beach.
Last summer, county commissioners appointed seven residents to a board that gives advice on what rules and improvements could be made to the county’s parks. The board is conducting meetings next week to solicit even more advice from the public. As a starting point, the board published online Jan. 15 some rules and improvements it’s already come up with.For example, the board suggests limiting tent camping to three nights per month and RV camping to seven days per month at Magnolia Beach.
“Although I’ve not ever seen it, common sense tells you that if someone parks on the beach for 10 days or two weeks with no dumping station that they have to do something with their holding tank and I’d hate to think they’re putting it in the water. For that reason, my long-term goal is to move the RVers to the Miller’s Point area, make a parking area for them and keep them away from the water’s edge,” board member Tom Andrews said.
The board also suggests a camping fee to help cover the cost of maintaining the park, which Andrews suspects takes up a majority of Commissioner David Hall’s budget.
Board Chair Allan Berger said Friday that they would prefer to search for grant funding before assessing a fee. He also clarified that the board has no power other than to give the county advice. He said if the county wanted to assess a fee, it would also have to schedule an election.
Andrews said regardless, something must be done because the beach “can’t sustain the numbers that we’re starting to see.”
He said in the past two years, between 35 and 40 feet of shoreline has eroded off Indian Point. He said people should launch their jet skis and boats from a boat ramp to help curb erosion as well as pick up after their pets to make the beach more pleasant.
“Being conscientious and courteous go a long way,” Andrews said. “A lot of this stuff we really shouldn’t have to tell people.”
Berger said the county passed a resolution 10 years that laid out a lot of the rules the board is suggesting, so they aren’t new. He said the board hopes the parks will ultimately be what the residents want them to be and draw as many winter Texans as Galveston and Port Aransas does.
“I was surprised at how many opportunities there are to improve the parks. This is just another way to give back,” he said.
The original version of this story has been changed to reflect that the Calhoun County Commissioners created the parks board and to correct dates of its meetings.