The four lakes under the control of Wood County have been in operation since 1962. As temperatures have climbed into the upper 90s in early June, each of the lakes has seen an influx of activity.
Wood County Sheriff Tom Castloo said he wants residents to enjoy their outings at the various lakes, but reminds residents there are rules to follow and his office plans to enforce them.
“Lake rules were passed by commissioner’s court in December of 2014 and they are in effect for all county lakes. With summer coming on some of the lake rules are being ignored, such as the alcohol on beaches and in certain places on county property,” Castloo said. “We would like for families to be able to go out and enjoy the lakes without having to worry about inebriated people playing their music way too loud or fighting near them.”
Castloo said it’s not always local people who bring the problems. “We are getting people coming in from Dallas, Tyler and Longview. We have families out there who are afraid to go to the lakes. We have people who want to come and camp out and have good family fun. If there is a problem area we are going to post a No Alcohol (sign),” Castloo explained. “If you are at your campsite and want to have a beer or a glass of wine with a cook-out, that is fine, but there is no reason why you should have to put up with people who are loud, falling down drunk and playing loud music. We are just trying to make all of our lakes more user-friendly for the public.”
There is a county lake in each precinct. Lake Quitman is in Pct. 1 and is located five miles north of Quitman. It has 814 acres with three boat ramps, a small beach and numerous picnic areas. Lake Holbrook is in Pct. 2 and is just northwest of Mineola with 627 acres including a busy beach and concession area. There are several picnic areas around the lake and two public access areas.
Lake Hawkins serves Pct. 3 and is almost 800 acres with a popular RV and camping park along with a nice sandy beach. It has four boat ramps maintained by the county. Lake Winnsboro in Pct. 4 is the largest of the county lakes with 1,100 acres.
The there are 14 sections of the lake rules and signs are posted with some of the rules at each lake. Some of the rules are posted at the lakes. One of those is the rule that reckless operation of a motor propelled or motor-driven boat , or other watercraft, on the lake is prohibited. “Reckless operation” includes driving one under the influence of alcohol or narcotics and driving a boat at an excessive rate of speed. Racing is prohibited.
The other post rule states no alcoholic beverage shall be allowed in the swimming and beach areas and all posted areas of the county lakes of Wood County.
Another one of the rules states no animals are allowed on the beach, parking or swimming areas and all posted areas of the county lakes.
Castloo wants the lakes to be a fun and safe place. “We going to do everything we can to make the lakes a safe and fun place. We are not going to come in there rushing in there arresting people,” Castloo noted. “Right now we are going out and informing people we are going to enforce the rules. We will be taking enforcement action, but we want to get the word out what we are doing. “