Officials with the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce say they are concerned about the negative economic impact of the upcoming seasonal closure of Mill Creek Park at Lake Sam Rayburn, and because of that they are gathering signatures on a petition in an attempt to keep the park open. Chamber officials say the results of the petition will be submitted to appropriate federal representatives near the end of September.

In Late July, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that Mill Creek Park in Sabine County was one of three parks on Rayburn that would be closed from October 1st, 2019 until February 29th, 2020. The other two were San Augustine Campground in San Augustine County and Hanks Creek Campground in Angelina County.

The reason for the temporary seasonal closures, according to the Corps, was “based on previous years' facility utilization data”.

According to Chamber President Beverly Holley, although there may be a decrease in the number of campers that fill the park during the spring and summer, the fall and winter months has its own share of campers.

Many of those are “snowbirds”, who are typically retirees from the north and northeast who own travel trailers or motor homes, and they winter in the south to escape the harsh winters up north.

Another factor is fishing tournaments, which are frequent on Rayburn during that time period and attract several anglers who choose to camp in the park rather than staying in area hotels or motels. One of which is an upcoming tournament produced by Bob Sealy which is scheduled for mid-October.

Meanwhile, the Corps says that although the camping portion of the parks will be shut down, the boat ramps at these parks would not be affected and would continue to be available for launch and recovery.

The petition is located in the lobby of the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce at 500 South Wheeler Street in Jasper.

Broadcast journalist & on-air personality - Rayburn Broadcasting Company - KJAS 107.3 FM in Jasper, TX and KFAH 99.1 FM in Pineland, TX