Stewart County, TN – After being closed since the flood, the Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge was able to re-open Friday, May 20th at 11:00am. However, some roads and areas are still off limits due to flooding, washing out, and debris.As of Thursday, Cross Creek workers were still not sure if the Refuge could open Friday. Roads had to be scraped and cleaned of mud and debris. Some areas had down trees while others still had flood waters covering them. But with a lot of work and effort, most of the roadways were clear for the Friday re-opening.
Cross Creeks is timing their water release with that of Barkley Lake. As Barkley Lake water levels drop, so can Cross Creeks levels. If Lake Barkley stops dropping, then the Refuge will have to resort to pumps to get the excess water out.
Reducing the water levels is important because the crop fields are still either flooded or so saturated that it makes planting impossible. The flood has put the farming on Cross Creeks way behind. The corn fields alone should have been planted at the end of April. Everyday the fields go unplanted, reduces the amount of food they will produce. As it is, it will be impossible for the Refuge to have the normal amount of food on hand for the migrating water fowl.
There were several people fishing and enjoying everything Cross Creeks has to offer it’s visitors. At one of the bridges, I met a man fishing for catfish. “I’m glad it’s back open. I know a lot of folks are glad to be able to come in here to fish and relax.” stated John Lucas.
At another bridge, I ran into Garrett Snider and his father fishing. Within minutes of putting his line in, little Garrett had pulled out a blue gill. Blue gill was not the only fishing biting. I heard from a few fishermen that the crappie were biting well. Others were having good luck with the catfish.
While driving around, I spotted one of the bald eagles that make Cross Creeks their home, perched on a dead tree overlooking one of the flooded fields. He flew off before I could get close enough to get a picture.
So this coming Memorial weekend, if you do not have other plans, you might want to pack up your rod and reel and head on over to Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge.