Leo Sánchez, Jim Sánchez/ Conexión Del Rio

DEL RIO – “Amistad National Recreation Area is rich in cultural history. There are opportunities for boating, fishing, rock-art viewing, waterskiing, scuba diving, hiking, and hunting,” Amistad National Recreation Area Superintendent, Christopher Ryan, stated on the nps.gov website.

The phrase “fly in the ointment” defined as a minor irritation that spoils the success or enjoyment of something is about to become a major irritant if the National Park’s marinas are not managed.

At the Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’ March 8 monthly meeting, held at the Texas Community Bank, Ryan outlined for the members, the Park’s continued search for prospective marina operators.  

“I’m here to talk to you tonight about the status of the Marinas at Amistad National Recreation Area.” “And where we are in the process to get someone to manage the marinas.”

In 2014 when Southwest Lake didn’t renew their contract, our regional office decided not to issue a new marina concession contract until such time it could be determined that it would be profitable. “Where we are today, the Park Service has temporarily been managing the marinas for four years now so that people who have boats there don’t have to move out.” “However, we can’t offer the same services as a concessionaire because as part of the federal government we can’t make a profit. We can’t rent boats, sell gas or any other services.” “In 2016, we had a financial analysis done by our regional office which stated that there was no reasonable opportunity for a concessionaire to make a profit, so by law the Park Service cannot issue a concession contract. As for options, one would be to offer a lease;” the difference between the two is that a concessionaire has to make a profit, whereas someone has a lease on a property hopes to make a profit but there is no expectation, stated Ryan.

A second choice occurred when the Park Services twice published in a local newspaper to see if anyone was interested in managing the marinas which was also shared with the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce and across Texas. However, no one responded. 

Currently NPS continues to maintain the marinas with maintenance staff personnel. “Moving forward in working with the Office of Evaluation Services here in the near future, a contractor will be hired to do an appraisal on the marinas so a figure can be estimated to know how much rent can be charged on the lease.”

“After the appraisal, a request form proposal will be put out for a period of 60 days where people can apply to for two separate leases to the Diablo East and Rough Canyon marinas or for both if they so choose.” 

“If we don’t get someone in there to lease the marinas, then they will be closed down and the docks will be removed,” concluded Ryan.