The Toledo Bend Reservoir was born from a unique partnership between the state of Louisiana and neighboring Texas. The 1960’s project created the largest reservoir in the South that is now a mecca for fishing, camping and lakefront living.
Construction of the nearly 2-mile-long dam, spillway and hydroelectric plant was completed in 1969. The states of Louisiana and Texas shared the 70-million dollar cost of the project without using any federal funds. The Toledo Bend Reservoir straddles the Louisiana-Texas border for a distance of 65 miles. The reservoir covers 185-thousand acres and has 12-hundred miles of shoreline.
recreation and electricity from toledo bend
A 75-megawatt hydroelectric power station anchors the Texas end of the dam. That’s enough electricity to power a town of 10,000-15,000 people, according to Barton Rumsey of the Sabine River Authority of Louisiana.
The Louisiana end of the dam features the spillway. The spillway has eleven 40-foot wide gates that are opened to drain off water when the level of the reservoir is too high. When fully opened the spillway gates can release water at a rate of 200-thousand cubic feet per second.
The day I visited the dam, the spillway gates were only open to ten percent capacity. Still, the flow of water was impressive. The water empties back into the Sabine River and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way some of the flow is diverted to industrial users.
two la state parks share the reservoir
The shoreline of the Toledo Bend Reservoir is now home to two Louisiana State Parks. North Toledo Bend State Park is located near the small town of Zwolle. And South Toledo Bend State Park is located near the dam at Anacoco. In between the two parks, you will find numerous boat launches, marinas and lodges.
TV FEATURE ON TOLEDO BEND RESERVOIR AND DAM (COMING SOON)
There is an observation tower at both ends of the Toledo Bend Dam, one in Louisiana and the other in Texas. The Hydroelectric plant is not open to the public.
I was 7 years old when my Mom and Dad bought a lot and built a camp house in Toledo Village on the very south end of the lake on the Texas side. You could sit on our porch look across the lake and see the dam. Made many trips to both observation towers through the years and many water skiing rounds in front of the damn! What a great experience growing up there on the weekends for the next 35 years!
Thanks for taking me back to that time!
Carlos Ray Hall
My name is Carlos Ray Hall.
We live in Rosepine, La.
My oldest sister and her husband lived in Burr Ferry, La. When I was growing up. When Toledo Bend was being built just about every Sunday afternoon dad, mom and I would take a short trip to Burr Ferry and then on to see the progress at Toledo Bend. A lot of great memories. I remember standing on the Louisiana spillway bank on the lake side looking down to the channel the week they started letting the lake fill. We watched week by week until the lake reached it’s full height.
Toledo Bend has been and still is a big part of our families lives.