Lake Fannin ownership battle continues

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FANNIN COUNTY, Texas -- The gates to Lake Fannin have been closed since April of last year, after the National Forest Service shut it down due to hazardous trees. Lake Fannin volunteers want to restore the historical landmark, but worry their effort may be stalled in Washington.

It's been more than a year since the National Forrest Service suddenly locked the gates to Lake Fannin, in April of 2013.

"It needs to be under Fannin County control, not the Federal Government," said resident Sarah Richardson.

Richardson joins hundreds who want to see the lake re-open.

"It's infuriating. And when I say infuriating I mean it burns," she told News 12.

Last August, Lake fannin volunteers presented a petition to the County to re-open the lake, with 1400 signatures. Shortly after, Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter met with Congressman Ralph Hall, who's been working in Washington to transfer lake ownership back to local government.

But residents' hope turned into uncertainty in May, after Hall lost his runoff election to former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe.

"It didn't help when that happened. We're going to miss Congressman Hall, but hopefully our new congressman will take up right where he left off and be willing to help us," said Judge Carter.

He says the County isn't giving up, and he hopes to see the gates open to the public again soon, "It's a beautiful piece of property. There are so many things that we could do with it, it's just better for it to be under our control than it would be with the gates locked. Right now they said we could either do a land swap, or we could purchase it."

We reached out to Ratcliffe's campaign office, and the National Forest service. Neither were available for comment.

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