NEWSLETTER OF THE GREATER CADDO LAKE ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS
What We Do, Have Done, and
Promise to Continue to Do
of the most frequent questions asked of GCLA Board Members is, what
does GCLA do?
This issue of our Newsletter is devoted to
outlining the major efforts in which GCLA has been involved since
its founding in 1978. That’s right; this organization has been
protecting Caddo Lake for over 30 years! However, we can’t take all
of the credit. Many other organizations and individuals have been
involved. I hesitate to list them at the risk of forgetting
someone. Here are some of the groups that come to mind: The City of
Uncertain, Caddo Lake Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, Friends of
Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Caddo Lake Institute, Cypress
Valley Navigation District, Greater Caddo Lake Assoc. of Louisiana,
The Nature Conservancy,…, and many individuals too numerous to
name... We do want to recognize the original founders of GCLA: John
Echols, Robert Speight, Sr., Richard Fredrick, L.B. Stewart, Flo
Daniels, Gene Walker Sr., George Williamson. Let us know if we
On to answering the question: What has GCLA
done for Caddo Lake?
GCLA was formed in 1978 with the stated
purpose of improving the roads around the lake (which were much
WORSE than they are today) and to control dangerous floods. While
the roads still need improvement, they are in much better shape than
they were in 1978.
Paper Mill on the
banks of Big Cypress
We successfully fought against a large paper
mill proposed to be located on the banks of Big Cypress bayou
“Caddo Lake Compact”
Successfully fought against the ‘Caddo Lake
Compact’. This ‘compact’, between Texas and Louisiana, would have
raised the weir 2 to 4 feet to supply water to Shreveport. John
Echols and then County Judge Richard Anderson (the same) went to
D.C. and testified before congress as to why this was not a good
Lake o’ the Pines
Opposed a hydro-electric generator being
placed on Lake o’ the Pines spillway
Fought against a chicken processing plant
being located on Little Cypress bayou. Poultry processing uses huge
amounts of water. That use of water would have been at the expense
of Caddo Lake.
Spent years opposing the so-called ‘Lake
Marshall’ being built on Little Cypress by the Little Cypress
Utility District. This project would have cut flows to Caddo and
provided land speculators with a boondoggle, get-rich-quick scheme
and very little extra water for the City of Marshall.
Fought against Pilgrims Pride’s efforts to
dump poultry processing waste into Big Cypress bayou at Pittsburg
Opposed the “Daingerfield Reach”, a barge
canal proposed to run from the Red River to Lone Star, Texas,
passing thru Caddo Lake and Lake o’ the Pines
GCLA supported the designation of
approximately 20,000 acres of the Caddo Lake area as a “Wetland of
International Importance” under the Ramsar Treaty.
Supported the creation of the Caddo Lake
Wildlife Management Area from land donated by the Nature Conservancy
Joined CLI in opposing Marshall’s efforts to
sell water to Entergy for a combined cycle power plant southwest of
Caddo Lake National
Supported the creation of the Caddo Lake
National Wildlife Refuge within the former Longhorn Ammunition Plant
(a superfund site)
Industrial ParkOpposed the use of part of
the Longhorn Army Ammunition property for an industrial park.
Special interests in Marshall had pursued the use of 1000 acres
within the National Wildlife Refuge, to be used as an Industrial
Park. GCLA believed that this was totally inconsistent with the
purpose of a National Wildlife Refuge.
Started the first non-agency
vegetation control program on Caddo Lake targeting water
Organized some of the early efforts to
respond to the threat of Giant Salvinia including building a barrier
fence, researching methods to kill Salvinia and pursuing ongoing
funding to establish a permanent spray program. We also organized
community education meetings to inform everyone of the problem.
Support for the
Science of Caddo Lake
Supported CLI and The Nature Conservancy’s
efforts to create a flow regime for Big Cypress and Caddo Lake to
better understand what Caddo Lake needs to be the viable natural
resource we have all come to love.
Being Good Neighbors
GCLA has supported, financially and with
resources, the Clean Up efforts both around the lake and in
the lake. Other partners in this effort have been Harrison County
and the City of Uncertain.
The Lost Soul Patrol
Although not part of the charter of GCLA,
our board members frequently get calls from people lost on the lake,
out of gas, etc. Below is a report from John Winn and how he handled
one of those requests and, no doubt, avoided an international
How to Make a
Friend on Caddo
By John Winn
One afternoon I got a call from my
friend, Jay Webb with the Harrison County Sheriff’s office, asking
for assistance in searching for two guys who were lost on Caddo.
These guys were from the U.K. and came to Caddo to kayak, had no
map, and got lost. Jay and Darrin, our local game warden, were
already out in the patrol boat looking for them. The guys had called
911 from a satellite phone, but from what I gather, it was a one-way
conversation because dispatch was unable to call them back
(something about their U.K. number). They were able to tell dispatch
where they put in, and that they could see a lot of little houses
that were falling down-- and that was all. To make matters worse,
one of the guys was diabetic and didn’t have his medicine, and it
was about to get dark.
I met with Jay and Darrin, and
then went looking up into Lone Pine Stretch, worked my way up into
Bird Roost and, eventually, Lower Hole Bird Roost. As I went along,
I would stop and blow an air horn and listen for a response. It was
starting to get dark, and with the tree frogs starting up with their
chorus, I was afraid I wouldn’t hear anything over the racket of the
frogs if they did respond. Just as I was about to give up on using
the horn, I heard a faint, “Hey! Hey!” off in the distance. As I
worked my way toward the sound of the calls, I looked through the
cypress and, sure enough, there are the two Brits standing in a duck
blind (“a little house” to them!) waving their arms like crazy,
making sure they got my attention. They must have thought I was
blind, because they didn’t stop waving their arms until I got right
up on them. These guys had resolved themselves to spending the night
in a duck blind before they heard me. Needless to say, the first
thing they told me was, “We are really glad to see you!”
After many thanks on the way back to where they had launched,
I finally was able to return them to where they had longed to be—to
their car. As we were loading their kayaks, one of the guys tried to
give me some money for rescuing them, but I turned it down and just
told them to help the next person they saw in need. Then, after
several more handshakes and words of thanks, I departed and left
them waving their arms, much like the first time I saw them. This
time, however, it was out of gratitude, rather than desperation.
These guys were truly grateful for help, and this was something they
would not soon forget. There have been several people over the years
I have rescued, lost or broken down here on Caddo, and I have yet to
meet any that weren’t very grateful for being rescued. All of a
sudden, you make a new friend when you come across them. Just think!
I just made two new friends, from the U.K., no less! Friends for
Special Thanks to Robert Speight for much
of the history detailed above.
We Don’t Know what the next threat to Caddo
Lake will be. But, we do know that there will be a threat and we
need your help to protect the Lake.
Check your Mailing Label If your
membership has expired, please help us to Keep Caddo Lake Natural by
renewing your membership. We can handle dues for more than one year!
Local Residents – We have an opening for
one Board member. Contact a Director if you are interested.
PRESIDENT: Terry Echols
VICE-PRES.: Sam Canup
SECRETARY: Jack Welch TREASURER:
Jack Canson Gary Kempf
Dan Fulghum Jim Lambright Doug Parker
Sara Smith Robert Speight,
Jr. Tom Walker Patti Webb
The Greater Caddo Lake Association of
Texas is a tax exempt organization under Section 501 (c)(3) of the
Internal Revenue Code, and has received a determination letter from
the Internal Revenue Service establishing that contributions to GCLA
are tax deductible to the contributor. Dues,
however, are not tax deductible.