Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lake Wichita Improvement Committee

The City of Wichita Falls has a gem in Lake Wichita. At one time Lake Wichita was a center for social gatherings and was a tourist attraction, drawing Dallas urbanites to the country for a view of the water (there were no lakes in the area of DFW at that time). There was a pier with a large pavillion for dancing. This burned down many years ago and since then the lake has more or less been ignored. The lake level was lowered some years ago as a flood control mechanism so the lake is very shallow (less than 10 feet). It is an excellent place to fish and to bird.

Several years ago, a committee of citizens was put together to recommend what to do with Lake Wichita. A few things happened as a consequence of that report. Recently, as part of its Vision 2020 Plan city planning consultants again cited Lake Wichita as an undeveloped resource and recommended a best use of wildlife habitat/nature center for ecotourism. Was I ever glad to hear that!

Currently, the city Parks Board is looking at possibilities. Certainly, there is an opportunity to create more than one lake use. I am 110% behind the nature center idea and would like to see some additional recreation activities, especially in the area of Lake Wichita Park where there is some development already. A nice restaurant with a view of the lake would be welcome and Murphy's Mound would be a nice site for an outdoor amphitheater. We'll see what comes out and what the public will support in the coming months.

There are more birds in the area than most state birders are aware and some judicious habitat improvement and advertising could make Lake Wichita a draw for birders and other wildlife watchers.

Good birding!

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