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Caddo Lake: An Enchanting Forest With Rich Native History

A story about visiting Caddo Lake, on the Texas-Louisiana border, which is rich in American Indian history and natural beauty.
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In honor of Earth Day, April 22, created a Top 10 list of the world's most enchanting forests. Among the favorites is Caddo Lake, a lush, vibrant forest land. Located on the border between Texas and Louisiana, Caddo Lake is a 25,400-acre maze of waterways, bayous, sloughs, channels, islands and cypress thickets dripping with Spanish moss. Caddo Indian legend attributes the formation of the lake to a giant flood.

A water lane runs through tall cypress trees covered with Spanish moss on Caddo Lake near Uncertain, Texas. Visitors to this lake tucked away in Texas' forested northeast corner find a mysterious labyrinth of swamps, sloughs, and bayous that are home to a vast array of wildlife, anything from owls to eagles to alligators. AP PHOTO/JAMIE STENGLE

According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, "In the late 18th or early 19th century, Caddo Indians settled on this rich land, where according to tribal legend, 'water thrown up into the drift along the shore by a wind' formed Tso'to (Sodo) Lake. Legends tell of the formation of the lake and Sha'childi'ni (Timber Hill), the first and last known Caddo village in this area. People have lived in this area for at least 12,000 years. For centuries, they hunted and gathered among the wetlands, forests and broad floodplains. Then they began to settle in permanent villages. The Caddo hunted wild game with bows and arrows, fished, and farmed corn, beans and squash. They built ceremonial centers and maintained far-reaching trade routes."

The rest of the story: In 1835 the land of and around present day Caddo Lake was purchased from the Indians for $80,000 by the U.S. government, and within a year the Caddo Indians were removed from this region.

Trivia: Since 1965 Texas' Caddo Lake has had hundreds of alleged Bigfoot 'sightings' according to the Texas Bigfoot Research Center (TBRC) as told on the Travel Channel 2006 documentary Bigfoot.

Visiting: Caddo Lake is a must-see for travelers, remembering the Native peoples who previously inhabited the lands. Caddo Lake State Park is a great place to start; click here for the park's website.