LOS FRESNOS — The new boat ramp at Adolph Thomae Jr. County Park can’t come soon enough.
Data from a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s survey shows the launch site near Arroyo City has twice as much boat traffic than the second-busiest ramp, the Port Mansfield state ramp.
“Since the late ‘80s to today, the usage at the park has essentially doubled,” Boyd Blihovde, refuge manager at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, said yesterday.
Adolph Thomae park sits on Blihovde’s Laguna Atascosa refuge, and the land is leased to the county.
Blihovde said data provided by the TPWD on boat launchings is what you might call bycatch. What they’re really doing is surveying fishermen when they come in from the Laguna Madre.
“While they’re analyzing what is caught at the boat ramp, how many trout and how many redfish they caught, they also are counting the number of vehicles with trailers in the parking lot,” Blihovde said.
In 1989, an average of around 24 boats per day used the Adolph Thomae ramp over the course of the year. By 2015, the number had ballooned to 45 boats per day on average.
On weekends in the summer, the number of launchings and takeouts skyrocket to numbers far higher than 45.
“Adolph Thomae is by far the busiest boat ramp in the lower Laguna Madre, and it gets almost twice as much usage as the No. 2 ramp, the Port Mansfield state ramp,” said Mark Fisher, the science director for TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division who conducted the survey.
“The third-most-busy ramp is the Willacy County Navigation District ramp, and Adolph Thomae gets 2.4 times more usage than this location,” Fisher added yesterday via email.
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– Adolph Thomae Jr. County Park ramp
– Port Mansfield State ramp
– Willacy County Navigation District ramp
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
24 — Average daily boat launches in 1989
35 — Average daily boat launches in 2000
45 — Average daily boat launches in 2015
Due to high boat traffic and continual increases in the number of launches, the county has bid out construction for the new boat launch at the park.
It will be built just to the west of the current launch site and will add two ramps for boats to launch.
It could be ready within three to five months, weather permitting.
The county has budgeted around $725,000 for the project, which also will add additional parking for 40 vehicles with boat trailers for the 300,000 people a year who visit the park.