Hot spot fees unclear to East Texans

By Holley Nees - bio | email

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - There's confusion over the fees that are being charged at Hanks Creek Park, an East Texas hot spot. Some visitors have yearly passes, but they can't use them on the camping grounds. The Corps of Engineers said it's clear to them, annual passes are for day use areas only.

The park was calm Monday afternoon, but some visitors are making waves about what they said were new regulations.

"My biggest complaint is the rules. We don't know what rules to follow. It's not that we don't want to follow them...They change every time I come down here," said Richard Bass, a park visitor.

Some said they had to pay a fee to get to the camping grounds or to use the camping grounds boat ramp, but they already have yearly passes.

Visitors said during the summer on the weekends it's tough to launch their boat because this ramp gets so crowded.

The Corps of Engineers, said the yearly passes are good for day use areas only, like the swim beach and the boat ramp. The campgrounds are not considered day use areas.

"We're happy that the public comes to our facilities and want to come and utilize it. We're willing to work with them and try and educate them of our policies. Much of it is covered with signage. We encourage them to pay attention to the signs and if there are questions we'd be happy to clarify anything for them," Natural Resources Specialist Ranger with the Corps of Engineers Bart Dearborn said.

"All we're asking is post the rules an we'll abide by the rules. Because this is a nice place to camp it's safe here. I like to bring my family here," Bass said.

However, the confusion isn't putting a damper on everyone's fun.

"Swim, you get to go out on the boat," visitor Reed Smith said.

Brett Fletcher, also a park visitor said, "It's fun, there's a lot of people to talk to and everybody's friendly."

Visitor Riley Smith said, "Well there's a lot of people that come out here and it's real fun to hang with friends. Go boat riding, wake boarding, stuff like that."

James Smith was at the park looking after Riley and Reed Smith.  He said, "It's fun. There's lots to do down here. That's why we bring them down here. It's real nice."

Even if things aren't crystal clear, they would still recommend their favorite splashing spot.

Young park visitor Cade Courtney said, "I'd tell them to come down here and have a good time."

If you have an annual pass it is good for the swim beach and the boat ramp on the right-hand side when you drive in. Otherwise, it is $1 for visitors over 13 years of age and a maximum of $4 for a vehicle in the day use areas.

To access the campground facilities it is $3 per car after the first two.