MCQUEENY, Texas — Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end to the summer season. For those living along Lake Gonzales, Meadow Lake, Lake Placid and Lake McQueeney, this holiday is one of the last chances to enjoy the lake before it's gone in a few weeks.
- Lake will be lowered starting September 16
- Members are trying to halt the draining
- GBRA decided to drain to prevent another spill gate failure
With the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority's September 16 drawdown date looming, members of area lake associations and recreationalists soaked up what could possibly be their final days out on their boats and jetskis.
"We have no idea what it's going to look like when they dewater it. It's going to go back to the natural river flow, which means it's probably going to be 80 feet out from here without water," Bob Spalten president of Friends of Lake McQueeney said.
GBRA management decided, in the interest of public safety, to dewater the remaining lakes along its dam system to prevent the risk of another spill gate failure, like what happened at Lake Dunlap in May and Lake Wood in 2016.
Property values are expected to drop, essentially eliminating the lakefront property residents invested in when they moved.
"We've already made our investment here based on an asset that was in front of us," said lakefront property owner Lindsey Gillum. "So for me, to put my house on the market today would probably mean about a 50 percent loss of investment, and what's further disappointing is my house was just completed about two years ago. And so had there been information out there, it would have kept people like myself and many others from investing millions, and now to the tune of a billion dollars of investment is found on these three lakes."
While many residents got the chance to grow up on the lakes, they say knowing their children won't get that same experience is painful.
"My three-year-old granddaughter learned to ski a month ago, along with a seven-year-old grandson. I've got a seven-year-old granddaughter," said Friends of Lake McQueeney member Mark Long.
Even age old traditions like watching the Lake McQueeney Ski Bees are over for now.
"They have a ski show here every Thursday night, during the summer," Spalten said. "And It's heartbreaking to think that that might have been the last the show for years to come. It's very heartbreaking. All of us have had kids and been involved with the Ski Bees and we dearly love the show and the lake."
"To have them so young, just learn to ski just be in one show and then it's going to be over for a number of years is very sad," Long said. "We're going to enjoy this lake as long as we can. But we also are working through together as a committee and a board to find solutions to fix it, and we hope we will get some help."
Before the lowering of the lakes starts on September 16, residents are attempting to file a temporary restraining order to halt the draining of the lakes. If you'd like to follow along in this developing story, you can join the #SaveOurLakes Facebook group, where residents along each of GBRA's dams discuss the current state of the lakes.