The Only Honest Lake in Texas

And local environmentalists aim to keep it that way

| July 21, 2005

The sights on Caddo Lake -- looming bald cypresses and gangly blue herons -- have inspired writers for years. As Joe Nick Patoski of The Texas Observer quips, 'It's the only Texas lake with its own body of literature.'

Well aware of such tradition and beauty are the people who live near Caddo Lake. In 1993, locals, with the help of Don Henley, the ex-Eagles rock star who grew up in the region, rallied around the newly founded Caddo Lake Institute. Henley and company successfully lobbied to have the lake and its environs declared a National Wildlife Refuge. For the northeast Texas swamp beleaguered by logging, polluting, damming, and water siphoning, it was a designation long over due.

It was a boon not just for conservationists; entrepreneurs anticipate the refuge will eventually draw tourists and create revenue for local businesses: 'There's hope the refuge's infrastructure will siphon off some of the $1.2 billion birding and wildlife observation brings into the Texas economy annually, most of it currently being spent along the coast and in the Rio Grande Valley.'

Meanwhile, there are those who remain vehemently opposed to the notion of the refuge, folks like retired General Vernon Lewis who see Henley as the pooper of an anti-regulatory party: 'He's going to go away someday, and when he goes away, this Caddo Lake Institute is going to go away. This is a one-man show and it is all about money and environmental power. They don't give a shit about Caddo Lake.'

Patoski, after hanging around the lake and interviewing those involved, drew his own conclusion: 'The lake people are now armed with the knowledge needed for community stewardship of the lake and its watershed, and to address issues such as mercury contamination, minimal flows, how to work with the Texas Council on Environmental Quality, water districts, and academics, and how to train local people to protect their lake and wetlands.'
-- Archie Ingersoll

Go there >> The Only Honest Lake in Texas

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter