By Vanesa Brashier
After months of closure following last year’s Hurricane Harvey, the boat ramp on the west side of the Trinity River bridge in Liberty is reopened. An anonymous volunteer cleared up the mountain of debris that was blocking access to the river.
“The guy who cleaned it up wants to remain anonymous,” said Texas Game Warden Jake Noxon. “He cleaned it up at no charge to the county or state. He used a big track hoe and scooped everything out and moved it to the side.”
The hurricane had left the boat ramp buried under about 12 feet of debris of floating timber and sand, Noxon added.
“As you can see when you walk down here, the debris line is a good 12 feet about the ramp,” he said, pointing to a pile of trees that are still under the US 90 bridge.
The boat ramp is the only publicly-accessible ramp in Liberty County that provides access to the Trinity River. Another ramp at the Port of Liberty, a couple of miles away, is open, but access to the river is blocked from the port because of silt.
“The only time you have access from the port to the river is during flooding events and you can’t get to the port dock then,” he said. “When they stopped moving barges up the river to Liberty County, they quit dredging the port, and it got silted in. It’s still a good place to go fishing and it’s smoother on windy days to be on the lake at the port, but you can’t get to the river from there.”
Over time the river has cut a path that has made the boat ramp at US 90 less than ideal. It will continue to get silted in during flooding events, the game warden said.
“The state will probably have to build a boat ramp on the opposite side of the river. We are constantly going to be fighting it on this side because it’s on a bend in the river where debris piles up. The bend causes an eddy and everything backflows to this side,” Noxon said. “All of the stuff being pushed down the river gets pushed this way.”
With only one public boat ramp to serve Liberty County, it is important that it remains open, particularly during emergencies when game wardens and emergency responders launch boats to look for missing people.
“If there was an emergency, boats could still enter the Trinity River at Moss Hill. There are sandbars where you can launch a boat. This ramp, however, allows you to get all the way to the river without getting your vehicle stuck,” he said.
Word of the boat ramp reopening is slowly spreading but Noxon said most people are still unaware.
“A lot of people still think it’s closed since Hurricane Harvey. I am still coming across people who are going down to I-10 to launch, thinking this one is still closed,” he said.
For those who use the river, Noxon urges courtesy and respect for one of Liberty County’s greatest natural resources.
“Respect the river and treat it as your own. Be courteous to people who are using the boat ramp. Unload your boat and move your vehicle out of the way to make room for others, and pick up your own trash,” the warden said.