Medina County, Texas
Just below Medina Dam on the Medina River in Medina County is another reservoir called Diversion Lake. Here is what the Handbook of Texas has to say about it.
Apparently an association of owners of property around the lake is unlawfully blocking public access to what is clearly public water. A case decided by the Texas Commission of Appeals and adopted by the Texas Supreme Court held in 1935 that the public was entitled to access. The owners' association acts as if it still has not gotten the word. Here is a discussion of the case.
Here is a survey map of the subject bridge over the upper part of Diversion Lake. The map must be viewed in landscape format, so when it comes up, go through each icon on your toolbar near the top of the screen. One of those should let you rotate the map clockwise 90 degrees. That should orient the map for proper viewing. When properly oriented, the Medina flows from the top of the page to the bottom.
The outer lines appear to represent the highway right of way. Within those lines, approximately centered, the bridge can be identified by a diagonal box with an interior "X" connecting with each corner. At the bridge to river right (which is the left side of the page), you can see lines representing a fence coming into the highway right of way to connect with the bridge. The handwriting pointing this out was probably added by someone other than the surveyor.
The river left side of the bridge also has marks indicating fences coming across the highway right of way to the fence. The upstream fence segment is almost perpendicular to the highway. The downstream fence segment makes a sharper angle coming into the bridge.
The map appears to have been prepared July 18, 1999 by Frank Kennedy, a Registered Professional Land Surveyor, P.O. Box 841, Castroville, Texas 78009. Thanks to Dennis Gaines for a copy of this survey.
Here is a photo of
Diversion Lake. Here is a
photo of Diversion Dam,
which forms the lake. Below to the left is a map showing Diversion Lake.
Medina Lake is the large lake at the top of the map. Diversion Lake is the wide part of the Medina
River below Medina Lake. The only crossing of Diversion Lake runs from
Mico to the southwest. All the other roads about the lake are private.
Below to the right is the same map zoomed back to show the area location in
relation to San Antonio.
We have sent a public information request to Medina County to find out the width of the road easement at the bridge and other information pertinent to the county's role in this matter. When we get a response, I will post that, too. The request was mailed certified mail, return receipt requested. I have received the green card indicating Medina County received the request on April 20, 2004.
Dennis Gaines is the paddler from Kerrville who spoke at our April meeting on this issue. He has forwarded a copy of a position statement he intends to deliver to the Medina County Commissioners on Monday, April 26.
Here is a sign threatening prosecution for exercising your right to paddle the lake:
The trespassing signs in the area imply the owner of the surrounding property, and probably the entity that wrongfully posted this sign, is "Medina Ranch."
Here is a May 5, 2004 San Antonio Express-News article by Zeke MacCormack re Diversion Lake.
Open Records Request
We have received what Medina County produced responsive to our open records request. Below are some of the highlights:
Letter from County Attorney to George Kampmann (10-17-88) (Kampmann apparently represents Medina Ranch, Inc. and the County Attorney is trying to resolve a dispute arising from removal of Medina Ranch's fence. The County Attorney seems to think the easement is 18 feet wide and seems to think there is no problem restricting public access even within that width.)
Minutes of Meeting of Medina County Commissioners' Court (5-17-99) (See item 9 on page 4. Frank Kennedy, the surveyor hired to do survey work in connection with bridge improvements, reports that the road easement is 50 feet wide. So, as early as May 1999, the Commissioners Court knew the width of the easement was an issue and knew the width was 50 feet. They voted to "study" the issue more. Since we are now five years down the road and I received copies of no other minutes, the only inference is that the "study" was a way to try to kill the matter.)