Ribbon cutting makes Toledo Bend accessible to public
Col. Sam Smith, Fort Polk garrison commander, left, cuts the ribbon at the Toledo Bend Army Recreation Center ribbon cutting Nov. 18. (Photo Credit: Angie Thorne) VIEW ORIGINAL

Courtesy

Spc. Kelly Acevedo

Public Affairs Office

FORT POLK, La. — The Toledo Bend Army Recreation Center has been a pillar for Soldiers and military families of Fort Polk for years.

The recreation site has been a place for events that built friendships, introduced fishing to those foreign to the hobby and brought a community together through kayaking and boating. Beginning Nov. 18, the site will be open to the public.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to commence the beginning of a new chapter for the site. Fort Polk garrison commander Col. Sam Smith thanked and recognized community representatives, legislators, Directorate of Public Works, Directorate of Emergency Services staff and the Toledo Bend employees for their hard work and coordination.

“Thank you for helping us achieve our goal, which we have tried to do for a long time to create and enhance relations,” said Smith.

Known for support and leisure services, the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program is one of many to use Toledo Bend as a place for fun events.

Jonathan Cole, director of Fort Polk’s FMWR, was pleased about the site extending its estate to the public.

“Toledo Bend has been a hidden gem in our region for decades. As we strive to continuously foster community relations, United States Army Garrison Fort Polk felt it would be a neighborly gesture to extend the use of our fantastic recreational area to the public,” said Cole.

A monthly event hosted by FMWR is the bass tournament. The public is welcome to compete in the tournament held on the first Saturday of the month. A $40 dollar entry fee is required per boat as well as a $5 fee per person for a big bass. The winner will receive 80 percent of the total entry fees collected.

New visitors seeking for a place to host their own events can use the outdoor pavilion, which accommodates 200 people, or the meeting room that houses up to 100 people.

Guests can check out the new welcome center on their way in from the gate. Inside they will find an indoor café that serves pizzas, sandwiches, wings and drinks. In case any supplies are forgotten, the Toledo Bend General Store can be found down the road. Lake attire, fishing supplies, ice, beer, sodas, snacks and charcoal can be found inside.

The cozy cabins and outdoorsy yurts are available to rent. The cabins sleep up to five people and have air conditioning, ceiling fans, full baths and well-resourced kitchens. Each cabin has a grill and fire pit to use. The yurts have a small grill that can be placed on top of a fire pit.

The recreation site provides an opportunity for people to safely operate all types of motorized watercraft on the marina. The process is easy for anyone and everyone. An online boating safety course is available. Proof of completion of the course must be present prior to attending a lake orientation.

“The largest man-made body of water partially in both Louisiana and Texas, the largest in the South, and the fifth largest by surface acreage in the United States. The Reservoir offers an unlimited opportunity for year-round recreation. The U.S. Army Recreation Park available for swimming, boating, picnicking, fishing, camping, play areas, and sightseeing,” as stated on the website.

There is nothing better than when a community comes together and bonds through well-rounded activities or hobbies. When looking for where to go or what to do to for fun, consider Toledo bend as the place to visit next.