AUSTIN, Texas -- The posts say "swim at your own risk" but the controversy at Hippie Hollow isn't over the signs, it’s over the lines.
Beginning in early February, the eastern cove is no longer open to boats. Some boaters were confused by the changes since there was no warning.
“We came out on a Sunday, and by Thursday, the swim buoys had been extended across the entire park,” said avid boater and regular Hippie Hollow visitor Will Coombes.
The eastern cove of Hippie Hollow had been open to boaters for decades, but now “it’s impossible to anchor in the same place that we have been for at least the last 30 years” said Coombes.
The Travis County Parks Department told KVUE it expanded the swim-only zone for two reasons: to limit underage park access since visitors must be 18 and older, and to make the cove a safer place for swimmers.
However, a Parks Department spokesperson acknowledged there is no record of any recent accidents.
“We couldn't figure out why this had happened,” Coombes said. He believes that by banning boats from the cove, Travis County has created a bigger problem.
“Without being able to tie a shore line, you run the risk of swinging in winds in a boating lane in the middle of a channel."
Now Coombes and hundreds of other boaters have started a petition online to restore their rights.
“We're hopeful that Travis County Parks will listen to our concerns and actually work with the community that utilizes the park."
Travis County has scheduled a public meeting on the issue on Wednesday, February 27 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Travis County West Service Center located at 4501 Highway 620 North.