Businesses struggle after beach closings at east Texas lake

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- An E-Coli scare has kept thousands of much needed tourist dollars away from those who make the better part of their living on the summer season at an east Texas lake. Boaters and campers are slowly starting to return to the shores and campgrounds surrounding Lake O' The Pines.

"We've got a lake house up here on the lake and come to spend the week up here," said one Houston visitor.

After a mid-June test, seven beaches were closed to the public because of high levels of E-Coli bacteria. Soon after the cancellations began.

"We had a lot of cancellations, we had cancellations all the way going into August of this year added it all up and we're right about $7,500 in loss," says Pine Lodge motel and campground manager Lisa Teague.

"We were off probably $20,000 for the July 4th weekend, summertime that's our business," says area convenience store owner Paula Turner.

"This little community right here and the people that live in it depend on that income the outsiders come in and spend. Our summer carries us for the whole winter," Teague says.

"As soon as we heard about it we started asking around to the local business owners we got conflicting stories but we felt good about it," says vacationer Jacob Yeater of Houston.

But thousands of much needed tourist dollars have been lost to those who make the better part of their living on the summer season.

"We've been coming up here for 30 years and kind of talked around to everybody and they said it was kind of blow out of proportion," says Misty Yeater.

The lake and campgrounds have been noticeably empty.

"Still have tons of openings over the next few weekends where people have canceled or just not called because of the bacteria," Teague says.

But they want people to come back.

"We want those folks to come back we welcome them back," Turner says.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality tested the waters in Lake O' The Pines.

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