Lake Fannin Celebration
By Jarrett Tucker
Apr 29, 2019
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Fannin County, Texas –- The Lake Fannin Celebration was a big hit with one hundred plus supporters. There were many dignitaries present for the celebration, including U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe and many of his staff; Reggie Smith, State Representative for Texas House District 62; Collin McLochlin, Regional Director for U.S. Senator John Cornyn; and John Vick, District Director for Texas Senator Bob Hall. Representing the National Forest Service were Jeff Stoney, District Ranger, and Marc Pons, Resource Assistant.

U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe speaks to the crowd gathered for the Lake Fannin Celebration.

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore was the emcee. Among the local officials attending the celebration was former Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter who worked tirelessly to return Lake Fannin back to the people. Fannin County Commissioners Jerry Magness and A.J. Self also attended to show their support, as did Fannin County Clerk Tammy Biggar, Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson and Alicia Whipple, Fannin County Auditor. The sheriff’s department provided security for this event.

National Forest Service personnel and Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson

Special thanks from all was given to Gabe Parker, Cheryl Youree and all of the Lake Fannin Volunteers. Commissioner Self also recognized former Commissioner Stan Barker and Commissioner Dean Lackey for their work in this project.

Lake Fannin Volunteers are recognized.

During the program, there were some notable quotes. Congressman Rattcliffe said, as public servants we strive to “make people’s lives better.” Judge Carter stated that it was an honor to be here and it took “a team effort” to get where we are today. Cheryl Youree’s vision was to be able to celebrate on the hilltop, and “restore, preserve, and maintain” the Lake Fannin area.

Cheryl Youree presents her vision for Lake Fannin.

There were some special presentations given. Congressman Ratcliffe presented copies of the Lake Fannin Conveyance act, signed by President Trump, and a pen used to sign the bill to Judge Moore, Judge Carter, and Gabe Parker.

U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe presents Fannin County Judge Randy Moore, Lake Fannin Volunteers President Gabe Parker, and former Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter with copies of the signed conveyance.

Gregory Hall presented Congressman Ratcliffe with a copy of his book, Lake Fannin Saved. David Keene then presented him with a bois d’arc pen made from wood from the Lake Fannin property.


David Keene (right) and Gregory Hall (2nd from right) make presentations to Congressman Ratcliffe (left) as Fannin County Judge Randy Moore looks on.

 Thanks to the leadership of Congressman John Ratcliffe, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Ted Cruz, Fannin County officials and everyday citizens who have advocated for Lake Fannin for over 20 years, we, the people of Fannin County, can celebrate the return of the Lake Fannin property to us.

There are still some issues that need to be handled; a survey and appraisal will need to be done. Then a purchase agreement with the National Forest Service will have to be negotiated and agreed upon.

If you have recommendations for how to best utilize this public use property, contact your county judge and/or your county commissioner.

U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe shakes hands with Gabe Parker as John Vick looks on.

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore recognizes State Representative Reggie Smith.

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore; Gabe Parker, Lake Fannin Volunteers President; and U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe

Fannin County Commissioner Jerry Magness (standing) thanks former Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter for his contributions to the effort to return Lake Fannin to the residents of Fannin County.

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore

Jamie Baker, Director of Public Policy for Congressman Ratcliffe, speaks to the crowd.

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore shakes hands with U.S Congressman John Ratcliffe as Gabe Parker looks on.

U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe and Spanky Carter visit.

Congressman Ratcliffe (right) and District Chief of Staff Jason Ross joke with a constituent following the event.

Sheriff Johnson, Judge Moore, with the current and possible future security detail.

photos by Jarrett Tucker