A portion of Ratcliff Lake re-opened on Friday, September 28, 2012.
According to a press release from the US Forestry Service, the day-use area of the lake, which has been closed off since 2008, due to hurricanes, tornadoes and drought has reopened.
Davy Crockett National Forest District Ranger Gerald Lawrence reported that the day-use area of the historic recreation site will be open up to the amphitheater and will give visitors an opportunity to picnic, swim and fish.
However, dead trees still pose a threat along the trails and camping sites, therefore some areas will remain closed until they can be cleared.
The lake’s main road accessing camping areas is gated at the amphitheaters, so camping areas will remain closed. The Tall Pines Trail and a section of the 4C National Recreation Trail from the trailhead in the recreation area to FM 227 remains closed. The hunter camps are open except for camps inside the recreation area and the White Rock hunter camps along Forest Service Roads 514 and 514D.
The recreation area was closed in September 2008, when it was hit by Hurricane Ike. After recovering from this disaster by 2010, a tornado struck the same area in late April 2011. The area was set to reopen in January 2011, when the devastating effects of the drought became apparent and hundred of pines and hardwoods throughout the recreation area died.
Lawrence noted, “It has been a series of unfortunate events, but we now have the day-use area ready to reopen.”