During the 1930s, the highway department built a two-acre impoundment beside the new U.S. 90, named it Borden Lake, and installed roadside picnic facilities. You would think that would mean that the Texas Department of Transportation would claim purview over Borden Lake, right? Well, they don’t.
In fact, although the lake sits on state owned land, I can’t seem to find a government body of any sort that wants to claim it as their responsibility. Texas Parks and Wildlife, Tx-Dot, county officials, and LCRA are all pointing their fingers at each other saying “not me.”
Let me tell you why I care. A few times a week, I stop by Borden Lake on my way home from work. There’s a white, domestic duck that lives there and sometimes I bring him a bite to eat and enjoy the relaxing view for a bit to unwind before heading to the house. I’ve seen people, young and old, fishing or enjoying a picnic, families having their family portraits taken and occasionally an RV parked for a break.
Two weeks ago, I observed a large truck backing in to withdraw water from Borden Lake. Although TxDot owns the roadside park adjacent to the lake, they informed me in a statement that they don’t have “authority to grant or deny access to the lake” and that I should address my questions to the agency officials that have purview over Borden Lake.
Again, I ask, who are those agency officials? No one seems to know.
The Weimar Lions Club has graciously maintained the roadside park, according to President Julius Bartek, for at least the last ten years with no assistance from any state agency. This past week, Mr. Bartek singlehandedly mowed, trimmed, and picked up garage at the park. He turned over one bag of garbage to Precinct 2 Constable Lonnie Hinze and, thankfully, he was able to track down the violators.
Borden Lake is the only lake in Colorado County that people can fish on without entering on private property. I don’t think I need to convince anyone around here that this is a natural treasure that we need to preserve. But apparently we do need to convince the state agency that oversees Borden Lake – whoever that may be.
During the 1960s, Lady Bird Johnson worked tirelessly for the conservation of the environment. More than 200 laws were passed during the Johnson administration, many of which were credited to Mrs. Johnson herself. One major legislative initiative was the Land and Water Conservation Fund. LWCF has invested over $577 million in Texas alone to protect wildlife refuges, historic sites, and increase recreation access, urban parks, and parks and green spaces – places like Borden Lake. But, sadly, this fund is no more – it expired on September 30, 2018. Looks like no federal initiative or state organization is going to step up and put an end to our environmental problems here in Colorado County with Borden Lake or Skull Creek. It’s all up to us to pick up the trash, tell for-profit businesses to buy their bulk water in town instead of stealing it from our community lake and stop contaminating our creeks, lakes, and river.
Let’s look to role models like Julius and Lady Bird and lead by their example. Together we must demand respect for our God-given treasures.
The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations. ~Saint John Paul II
Michelle Banse Stokes is the Publisher of the Colorado County Citizen and lives in Weimar. Connect with Michelle on social media: fb.com/MichelleBanseStokes