The City of Palestine's Parks & Recreation Department has closed Upper Lake for public use until further notice, as an alligator has been sighted in the area.
The Parks & Recreation Department officially closed the city lake on April 30, City of Palestine Parks & Recreational Department Director Roy Crouch told the Herald-Press Thursday.
“We had several several calls from local citizens that said they have sighted an alligator,” Crouch said.
After city staff verified those claims with their own sighting of an alligator ranging in length from 8 to 10 feet, the decision was made to close down the Upper Lake area so the alligator could be removed.
“There are signs and barricades. We obviously don't want vehicles in the area. We don't want anyone fishing or boating or even hiking. We don't want anyone in the general area until we have captured the alligator,” Crouch said. “It's all about safety.”
Contacting the Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens as part of a special protocol, the City of Palestine was given the names of three professional alligator harvesters, choosing to hire a professional from Rusk to handle the removal of the alligator.
“We have hired him to extricate the alligator. He's been working a good week and half, going out several nights a week working various areas of the lake and has made several contacts. We hope there will be an extraction soon,” Crouch said. “We can't open up the lake until we have an extraction of some sort. Because of the size of the alligator, we do have permission from the game warden and Texas Parks & Wildlife to do by whatever means necessary to remove the alligator from the area.”
Although there have been rumors that there is more than one alligator and/or that the alligator is larger than 10 feet, Crouch said those rumors are not true.