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Old Posted Sep 11, 2009, 6:23 AM
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KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is offline
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River trek 70 years ago recalls a different waterway

Neat story.

Quote:
River trek 70 years ago recalls a different waterway

By Brian Chasnoff
- Express-News

Seventy summers ago, a 16-year-old boy named C.P. Autrey climbed into a homemade canoe with a rifle, sparse provisions, a close friend and little else.

Escaping the Great Depression, the boys discovered a world of abundance as they paddled hundreds of miles down the San Antonio River to San Antonio Bay.

The journey brought hazards, including an upset hornets' nest, canoe-smashing rocks and one angry farmer with a shotgun. But Autrey said he and friend Fred Burkett Jr. thrived in clean, clear waters, shooting squirrels along the banks and capturing plenty of catfish.

Today, Autrey, 87, lives alone on the North Side. Years after Burkett's death, he's been thinking a lot about their trek to the coast, not to mention worrying about how the river and bay have changed.

He's not the only one.

This summer, the San Antonio River Authority, together with state agencies, began fieldwork on a four-year study of the river, a process that state lawmakers mandated for all rivers in Texas.

Now scientists are working to determine how much water is needed in the river to support the sort of healthy ecosystem that Autrey conjures in his memory with such bittersweet clarity.

“Oh, God, gorgeous,” he says, reflecting on the more pristine San Antonio River and its coastal estuary of more than half a century ago.

Populations have since swelled, degrading the water system with pollution and pumping. Worsened by the drought, a scarcity of freshwater flowing to the bay system has wreaked havoc on its ecosystem, experts say.
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2009, 1:38 PM
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Man, I love old stories.
I've always envisioned a paddle trail in Karnes County to bring a little tourism down 181. A trail from the Bexar County to Goliad State Park or the Bay would be awesome.
As teens in Karnes County, we would go canoeing a few days after the rains/storms of late summer/early fall would raise the river a few feet or about 1 week after the dam realease would make the river swell up. People still do that every now and then.
It'll be kinda hard to get something between Wilson County and Karnes, the falls near Falls City, at Mays & Conquista Crossing, are a pretty decent size.
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Old Posted Sep 12, 2009, 12:39 PM
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Goodbye to a River

If you liked this story you might want to read this book..it's one of my favorite and it's a very good read:

Goodbye to a River
by John Graves
published in 1960.

It is a "semi-historical" account of a canoe trip made by the author during the Fall of 1957 down a stretch of the Brazos River in North Central Texas, between Possum Kingdom Dam and Lake Whitney. The book contains both the author's account of the trip itself and numerous stories about the history and settlement of the area around the river and of North Central Texas. The title refers to Graves's childhood association with the river and the country surrounding it, and his fear of the "drowning" effect that a proposed series of flood-control dams (most notably, Lake Granbury) would have on the river.

Only three of the dams were ever built on the river, though, at one time, up to thirteen were proposed at various locations along its course to the Gulf of Mexico. The success of Goodbye to a River is often cited as a major reason that the proposed dams were never built.

The book is acclaimed as a work of both conservationism and history and is often compared to Walden by Henry David Thoreau.[2]

For the 2007-2008 academic year, Texas State University-San Marcos selected Goodbye to a River as the core text for its University Seminar, a course required of all first-year students
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