Cleaning up Lake Texoma's parks

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

LAKE TEXOMA -- More than four months have passed since rising waters on Lake Texoma destroyed many of the campsites. Work crews are still cleaning up and say it could be months before all the campsites are open again.

The gates to East Burn Run, along with other campgrounds around the lake remain closed for problems ranging from moldy bathrooms to exposed electrical wiring.

Officials say they can't open these sites until they get the money to clean them up.

That money may not be available anytime soon.

"When we first got over to look at it, of course this one was bad, but it looked like a war zone over there because there so many trees and logs things every where."

Rayburn and Patsy Jay have volunteered through the Army Corps Of Engineers for the last 14 years, cleaning up the parks during the winter months making sure everything was ready for the spring.

This year however the task at hand is much larger than before.

"We painted the gates. Now we’re painting fire rings and we're scrubbing those with a wire brush and hammer and painting them."

Painting isn’t all they're doing. The Jays, along with several other volunteers, have power washed the roadways, removed rusted roofs of picnic areas, and picked up debris across the campgrounds.

While it looks like they've been making progress, appearances aren't always what they seem, and a lack of federal funding isn't helping.

"We're in war, and that’s where most of the money is so we're just doing what we can with what we have. It usually takes a while because it has to go through Congress and right now we our operating through a continuing resolution ‘cause the President hasn't passed out bill yet for our regular funding for our yearly funding."

Temporary lake manager Tish Livesay says amongst the many problems confronting her busy staff, getting the electricity turned on is key to their future success.

"Until we get the funding to get the electric stuff back on, we won’t be able to do that in the parks, and we do have some electricians that have volunteered some time to work in some of the parks, and we're gonna be able to utilize some of that."

But in the meantime, she asks for help from volunteers.

"We are doing the best we can as quick as we can with what we have, and if they would like to volunteer they are more than welcome to come help us."

Corps officials say they hope to get the boat ramp at East Burns Run open in the next couple of weeks.

As for the other campgrounds, those could take months to get back on track.


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