Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area closes for park enhancement projects

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area is a convenient place for folks to head for a weekend of outdoor fun, but those plans are now on hold.

"Will be closed the seventh through the 27th of this month and will be open again on the 28th," said J.R. Lawrence, District Manager for Davey Crockett Nat'l Forest.

The entire lake recreation area will be shut down for crew of engineer and archeologists to make themselves at home.

"So that these different resource crews are out there doing their inventories are not disturbing the visitors who'd be coming to the lake," said Lawrence.

Despite the ideal weather for being outdoors, crews say April is the best month to tackle the project.

"As you can see things are starting to bud out and bloom and towards the end of April is really when our vegetation is almost fully come out and at that point it's a lot more difficult to conduct the inventories we need to have done at that point," said Lawrence.

One of the projects, engineers will complete is a detailed topographical map.

"If we wanted to put some new RV sites around the lake and so forth we would need the detailed topography map to figure out what we needed to do to put in those sites," said Lawrence.

Believe it or not, even camping has changed over the years. During the closure, Ratcliff Lake officials will be looking at ways to modernize the camping experience.  A survey will help pinpoint how campers' needs have changed since the recreation area was developed decades ago.

"[Do they] want more electrical outlets you know or they want more RV more modern type camping?" said Lawrence.

The closure will also allow archeologists to investigate a hundred year old mill site.

"[The archeologists will be] looking at different types of archeology, historic and prehistoric things that may be out there," said Lawrence.

All part of a future, they hope to secure...in just 20 days.

For more area recreational opportunities go to the U.S. Forest Service Website.

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