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Tubing Companies Sue Over New Braunfels Container Ban

Tubers drifting down the drought-depleted Guadalupe River.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News
Tubers drifting down the drought-depleted Guadalupe River.

A group of tubing companies is trying to stop New Braunfels from banning disposable food and beverage containers on the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers. The city ordinance was passed 5-2 in August, but it will face a vote in November after opponents gathered more than the 1,666 necessary to challenge the rule.

The drought has crippled the tourism business along the river, and a coalition of tubing companies that filed the suit in Comal County Court believes the ban will make matters even worse.

Rockin' R River Rides general manager Shane Wolf says his business is down 35 percent. He says his colleagues are reporting similar losses, which, he points out, digs into the city’s tax base.

“An unbelievable circumstance has already taken place,” Wolf said. “Where else will the city be able to collect that money overnight? Or else it’s going to go to the taxpayers, unfortunately. That's something that no one wants.”

New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil and her allies on city council believe the container ban will attract people who stay multiple nights and spend more money, while repelling partiers looking for a relatively cheap booze cruise.

“We will hopefully see a return of some of the families that have frankly been somewhat reluctant to come in recent years because of the condition of the river,” she said. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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