Palestine: Alligator on the loose forces popular fishing lake to close until caught

Published on Friday, 16 May 2014 18:14 - Written by From Staff Reports

PALESTINE — The city has closed a popular fishing lake after an alligator was discovered in it.

 The Upper Lake was closed April 30 thanks to the 8- to 10-foot-long alligator, Palestine Parks and Recreational Department Director Roy Crouch said. 

“For public safety concerns, we went ahead and closed the Upper Lake area,” Crouch said Friday. “Everything is barricaded off, and we're not allowing (anyone) into the area. We have called Texas Parks and Wildlife and now have a company to help us extricate the animal.”

Crouch said TPWD requires a special qualified alligator harvester in cases such as this.

"We hired a company out of Rusk, and for the past week, the harvester with that company has been on the lake attempting to capture the animal," he said. 

Crouch said Upper Lake is a small fishing lake and can handle small boats with no motors. It also has hiking trails around it for nature lovers. 

“It’s a pretty lake and quite popular,” he said. “We have been pretty fortunate that everyone is staying out of the restricted area. If we do get a lot of curious onlookers, it could cause the gator to move around, making the capture more difficult.”

Crouch said he hopes the lake is reopened sometime soon.

“We feel pretty confident that this will be over soon, and we can get the lake opened back up, so people can once again enjoy the area,” he said.