Texarkana Waterways Flow with Recreation Choices

By Pamela Coyle on May 4, 2011 at 9:06 pm EST

More than 300 bird species have been spotted in Atlanta State Park, just southwest of Texarkana on Lake Wright Patman Dam. The 1,475-acre park fronts a res­ervoir with 170 miles of shoreline. With hilly terrain, woodland cover and water­front, the park is hospitable to many types of birds, and plans include building on a reputation as a great birding destination. Nearly 100 species are considered common or likely to spot, many of them in autumn when the leaves are down and visibility improves, says Kody Waters, park superintendent. “A lot of people look for pileated woodpecker and red-bellied woodpeckers,” says Waters, who notes the park also has a bald-eagle nest. Birding, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, biking and swimming opportunities abound in the Ark-Tex, and Atlanta State Park is only one destination that offers virtually all of them. Caddo Lake is the South’s second-largest natural lake; Lake Bob Sandlin covers nearly 10,000 acres, and the state park attracts 100,000 visitors a year. It is a top fishing destination, with healthy stocks of Florida bass and channel catfish. Daingerfield State Park in Morris County has an 80-acre lake, fishing, a boat ramp, rental lodges and rolling hills that come alive with spring-blooming trees and vines and produce a classic autumn showcase. Many springs still flow in Franklin County, including those that supply Lake Cypress Springs and are the headwaters for the Cypress Basin Watershed. The Franklin County Historical Association has good maps for hiking, biking and scenic drives. The association has obtained a 60-year lease for 3,600 acres around the headwaters. “This is the very end of the creek, which meanders and stretches for six miles,” says B.F. Hicks, a Mt. Pleasant lawyer, nature enthusiast and association board member. Eight miles south of Mount Vernon is an old growth, short-leaf pine stand and a “really mag­nificent” 40-acre marsh packed with wildlife, Hicks says.

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