Sabine County, Texas-

A public access recreational area has been in the works for several years, beginning with a group of residents who raised both money and awareness to meet the goal. Sabine County Judge Daryl Melton notified members of the Great East Texas Outdoor Fest, that the project has moved a step closer to becoming reality. "Without that dream we would not be where we are today," Melton told festival board members, and volunteers. 

The El Camino Resort is set to host many amenities, including a six-lane boat launch, and pavilion similar to Cypress Bend on the Texas side of the lake. The boost to the local economy will have a broad impact throughout Toledo Bend. The entrance location for El Camino Real Recreation Resort, and Marina is off of Highway 21 and currently houses USDA/USFS offices. 

"We are here to listen," the Sabine River Authority told the community on October 6, 2016 during a public discussion forum hosted by Sabine County. Among the approximately 75 citizens who attended were several organizations who have stepped up to promote the lake and Pineywoods of Sabine County for several years. Members of the Sabine County Tourism Committee, Sabine County Economic Development Committee, Great East Texas Outdoor Fest, and elected officials all had questions and were seeking direction on how to move a development project forward. Dawn Glover from Senator Robert Nichols Office has kept lawmakers in Austin informed on how they can assist the county promote growth and tourism. 

One of the first questions asked was whether or not there is land available for development along the shores of Toledo Bend Reservoir. Sabine National Forest is approximately encompasses approximately one third of the county, and much of it along the shorelines of the fourth largest man made lake in America. This fact created a problem of it's own. In a joint effort, by local, state and federal entities the location where the current USDA/US Forest Service office are now located became the target location. Specific criteria had to be met such as roads and parking

SRA Assistant General Manager Ann Galassi, Bill Hughes, Steven Gawkins were introduced, Sabine County Judge Daryl Melton reminded guest that the point of the meeting is about recreation and economic development. 

"This really has been one of the largest collective involvement moving forward with development on the lake," was a statement heard several times by several state and local leaders.

It's no secret, Toledo Bend Lake has been named by BassMaster Magazine at the #1 Bass Lake in the United States for the second year in a row. A point many in East Texas pointed out long before National attention in BassMaster's Magazine. Sabine County sits in the midst of Sabine National Forest, with several governing entity holdings along the shores of the lake opening the lines of communication has been a huge first step.

Letters of support are needed and can be done so by email to: SM.FS.r8nfgtsabcom@usda.gov  include subject line: SRA Marina and Resort Permit Project.  Please give positive comments as to how this project will be good for Sabine County. The project will help improve economic development, for one of the poorest county's in Texas. The economic impact will have a huge positive financial impact on every business in the county.  Also your name and address will be required.

Letters of support are needed and may be sent by mail to the following address. Kimpton Cooper, District Ranger 5050 Hwy 21 East   Hemphill, Tx 75948

Put Attn: SRA Marina and Resort Permit Sabine National Forest on the bottom of the envelope.

Proposed Template You can personalize, to be sent to the US Forest Service:   Kimpton Cooper, District Ranger 5050 Highway 21 East Hemphill, TX  75948 Email: SM.FS.r8nfgtsabcom@usda.gov ATTN (Subject): SRA Marina and Resort Permit Project, Sabine National Forest

Two locations along Toledo Bend template letter below, please edit to suit your needs. The Shelby County project map is attached.

Dear Mr. Cooper, 

I am writing in support of the SRA Marina and Resort Permit Project, Sabine National Forest.. Texas has long needed to develop areas at Toledo Bend Reservoir that could be used for recreation and community events. Improving the existing recreation site at Haley’s Ferry in Shelby County and establishing a new recreation site south of SH 21 in Sabine County would prove beneficial to the social and economic well-being of the communities within their vicinities. 

The developed recreational areas could be utilized as host sites for professional, amateur, collegiate and high school fishing tournaments. The sites could also be used by families and organizations within the area as gathering places to enjoy being outdoors together. Their use as gathering places for families, organizations, and tournaments would lead to an increase in tourism, and their increased exposure would appeal to investors and land owners in the East Texas/Western Louisiana area, all of which would lead to economic growth for this area. Economic growth would result in greater income for East Texas and Western Louisiana and an improved standard of living for Texans and Louisianians. 

Here please tell how your organization or community could use the new or improved facilities being proposed (community festivals, school field trips, reunions, etc.). I would like to see my community (county, parish, state) grow and thrive in the future, so I wholeheartedly endorse the granting of a Marina and Resort Permit to the Sabine River Authority for the development of recreational areas in Shelby and Sabine Counties. Thank you for taking my endorsement into consideration in the approval process.         Sincerely, 

#makesabinecountygreat

Several stories and events supporting this effort are attached to this story.

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