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Lakeside Tranquility is One Sure Thing in Uncertain, Texas

Environmentalists and conservationists work to protect natural areas around the world and are often supported in by local people who want to maintain their rural lifestyle. One such place is Caddo Lake, which straddles the border between Texas and Louisiana and is the only natural lake in the state of Texas. VOA's Greg Flakus has more from the lakeside town of Uncertain, a Texas community about 280 kilometers east of Dallas but a world apart from big city ways.

Caddo Lake is tucked away in the woods in northeast Texas, far from the cities and all the stress of the modern world.

Although it has around 100 square kilometers of water surface, the lake is not very deep, according to local boat tour operator Jim McMillen. He explains, "Most of it is pretty shallow, like you see here, more swamp than real lake, especially on this end of the lake, the Texas side of Caddo Lake."

McMillen spends most of his time out on the water, showing visitors the place he calls home.

In decades past, it was a rough trek getting to Caddo Lake over a trail the locals called the "uncertain road."

McMillens recalls the process of naming the town. He says, "When they incorporated they just used the name. They came to that place in the paperwork where it said 'name of town' and they just wrote 'Uncertain' and so it became official."

But the 200 or so people who live here can be quite certain when it comes to important matters, such as their desire to keep the lake the way it is.

"It seems like somebody is always coming up with some kind of development plan and the local people get pretty much unified to fight those battles," McMillens said.

The locals recently fought the nearby City of Marshall, preventing it from taking water from the lake for municipal use. Rock star Don Henley of the Eagles, who grew up nearby, donated money to protect the lake.

Residents, like Jim McMillen, are grateful for any help they can get in preserving their own little piece of paradise. He says, "You can almost do a whole trip out there for an hour and a half and not see another boat. It's very quiet. Whereas in a lake near a big city, of course, you can almost get run over. People appreciate that and there are a lot of people who come out here to fish and enjoy the solitude and kind of serenity."

For certain, Uncertain is the place to find peace and quiet.