Board Insights: Trip Ruckman

The River Authority
Jan 29, 2021

Skiles Falls (aka Mill Falls) in Karnes County

This series provides readers the opportunity to learn about the unique insight and experiences of the River Authority Board of Directors and their personal connection to the San Antonio River in hopes of inspiring stewardship of area creeks and rivers.

H.B. Trip Ruckman Portrait

H.B. “Trip” Ruckman III

Trip Ruckman graduated from Karnes City High School and earned a BBA from the University of Texas at Austin. He then attended the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University. He also served on active duty in the Navy from 1967 to 1974, then remained active in the Naval Reserve for 17 years, retiring as a captain. In 1974, Ruckman joined the Karnes County National Bank and became president in 1985 followed by chairman of the bank’s board in 1995. He is currently active in the community through the support of various local organizations in Karnes County and has been a board member of the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) representing Karnes County since 1987, where he was chairman from 2001 through 2005. His current term expires in 2021.

What is your favorite section of the San Antonio River?

Falls on the San Antonio River near Falls City, Karnes County

 Falls on the San Antonio River near Falls City, Karnes County

There are many favorite sections that come to mind so it’s difficult to choose just one. Some of my early childhood memories involve the Downtown Reach of the San Antonio River Walk where my grandparents would take me on walks. We’d also visit Brackenridge Park near the San Antonio Zoo to see the hippos bathe in the San Antonio River. Down in Karnes County, some of my favorite sections along the San Antonio River include the falls at Falls City, Conquista Crossing, and spending time on the river at our farm in Helena.

Of all the San Antonio River Authority’s current Safe, Clean, and Enjoyable projects and efforts, which do you think is the most impactful or inspiring?

When it comes to keeping our creeks and rivers “Safe,” the River Authority’s involvement in the creation of the two flood control tunnels that were built along the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek near downtown San Antonio have played a huge role in protecting life and property, especially during historic flood events like the one in 1998. In Karnes County, the River Authority is responsible for the maintenance of 13 flood retention dams that provide important flood mitigation for the community.

Why is it important to be a stewards of the San Antonio River Basin and protect area creeks and rivers?

San Antonio River Authority sign at headquarters.


In recent years, people have become more conscious when it comes to our environment but it’s still important to have entities in place with a regional and local focus that can advocate and be responsible for our creeks and rivers. The River Authority offers resources and educational materials so that everyone can play a part in protecting our natural resources.

What is a positive action someone can take to Be River Proud?

Overview of Escondido Creek Parkway playground and pavilion.

Escondido Creek Parkway in Karnes County

It’s important for everyone to be conscious of their environment and how it’s interconnected. Our actions on land, wherever we may live, have a direct impact on our creeks and rivers. The more people interact with the river, the more they will want to invest in protecting it. Having increased recreational opportunities will help put a positive spotlight on our creeks and rivers as they become a point of attraction for residents and visitors alike.