Proposed legislation would restore Lake Fannin to local control

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) A new piece of legislation introduced by a group of Texas lawmakers will help get Lake Fannin back in the hands of Fannin County, meaning families will be able to enjoy it even more.

Lake Fannin used to be a place where Texans went to cool off from the Texas heat, but it has not been open for years.

“It’s limited or denied access all together,” said Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX).

The Lake Fannin area was closed off to the public five years ago by the U.S. Forestry Service, falling into mismanagement.

Now, Texas lawmakers are committed to passing legislation to restore the land to local control.

“We’re working very hard on that. My hope is we’ll get that done very, very soon,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

Cornyn worked with his colleagues Ratcliffe and Sen. Cruz to the legislation finalized and proposed in the House and Senate. Although there’s no exact timetable now, lawmakers said they hope to pass the act through Congress very soon.

“Who knows more about and cares more about Lake Fannin than folks in Fannin County, it’s not folks in Washington, D.C.,” said Ratcliffe.

If signed into law, the act will return 2,025 acres to Fannin County in east Texas, opening new recreation spots for local families.

“Camping and fishing and picnics and all sorts of cherished family memories. Recent generations haven’t had that and future generations won’t unless this is signed into law,” explained Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe also called the lake and surrounding area one of the area’s most important assets. He hopes it drums up tourism and economic opportunities once it is back open to the public.

It is the first bill he introduced in this 116th Congress.

“It’s been a lot of the local officials in Fannin County working with my office and working with Senator Cruz and Senator Cornyn that have made this happen, said Ratcliffe.

“I know people love it and would really look forward to getting back on the land and enjoying that recreation area,” said Cornyn.

The county is hoping to have it open for the summer season. Former County Judge Spanky Carter who was integral in getting the area back into local control says volunteers are on site cleaning up the brush and getting it back into shape.

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