Crews working to clear closed areas of Ratcliff Park by summer’s - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Crews working to clear closed areas of Ratcliff Park by summer’s end

HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) -

Ratcliff Park, in the Davy Crockett National Forest, is seeing new life after being closed for over a year.

This time last year this area of the park was completely covered with dead trees.

"It looks a lot different than it did, for people who remember how Ratcliff used to look there's a lot of trees gone." said Ernie Murray, Public Affairs Specialist.

Hundreds of dead trees have been removed from the park's day use area,

Officials say reopening the area used for swimming, picnicking and fishing was top priority but there is still work to be done. T

The park's camp area is still under construction.

"They are dropping a lot of the remaining dead trees that are on our camping loops on the backside of our lake they are working on getting those cleared out," said Gerald Lawrence, District Ranger, Davy Crockett Nation Forest.

District Ranger Gerald Lawrence says the district has seen tornadoes and hurricanes in the past five years adding extra challenges to restoration efforts.

 "We're also dealing with that an in addition to what the remains of the droughts we're dealing with as well," said Lawrence.

Lawrence says even though a mild winter and recent rains have benefitted the park's condition, officials frequently survey the park and to check for any dead or dying trees.

"Even though it looks like the drought may be over we still are having occasional dead trees," said Lawrence.

While the public has already started to take advantage of the open potions of the park, officials won't be satisfied until the entire park has been restored to its former glory.

The parks camping area is still filled with hundreds of dead trees that need to be removed.

Officials are hoping to have that portion finished by the end of summer, in time for hunting season.

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