Last Tuesday the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Carter Federal Credit Union, DOTD, Wildlife and Fisheries and several elected officials from all levels of politics met at a small boat launch in Springhill for a ribbon cutting.
“That special event was held to announce the completion of a new public boat launch,” said Lynn Dorsey, Executive Director of the Webster Parish CVB. “In recognition of the hard work and determination of the late Honorable State Representative Everett Doerge and the Honorable State Representative Jean Doerge, the boat launch has been officially named Doerge Landing.
“Additionally, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and the Louisiana Office of Wildlife and Fisheries were recognized for their contributions. Doerge Landing offers public access to scenic Bayou Dorcheat from the northern end and is a critical component in the development of Bayou Dorcheat as a tourist attraction. Doerge Landing is truly an asset for the citizens of Webster Parish and the surrounding area. The Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission and I would like to thank James Gibson and the staff of Carter Federal Credit Union for providing the accommodations for the ribbon cutting.”
Gibson, President and CEO of Carter Federal Credit Union, recognized all elected officials and introduced Senator Robert Adley as a speaker.
“I can’t think of a better person to dedicate this to,” said Sen. Adley of the dedication of the launch to Everett Doerge. “He was such a fun loving man and a man that never forgot where he came from. Every breath he took, from entering office to leaving it, was for the people of Webster Parish.”
President of the Webster Parish Police Jury (WPPJ), Charlie Walker, spoke after Adley and promised the WPPJ would do all they could to make the landing better and upkeep what is there.
In 1970, the Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System for the purpose of preserving, protecting, developing, reclaiming and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties and ecological regimes of certain free-flowing Louisiana streams.
Today, there are approximately 3000 miles of Louisiana designated Natural and Scenic Rivers. Over the last ten years, eight new streams have been added to the System.
Two others have been nominated and are presently awaiting approval. If these two are included, this will amount to an average of one stream per year being added to the System in that time frame.
Rivers, streams and bayous can be nominated for inclusion in the Scenic Rivers System by local legislators and the late Rep. Doerge began the process of nominating Bayou Dorcheat in 1995. He enlisted Keith Cascio, Scenic Streams Coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, to help him with creating a landing in the north end of the parish.
“He (Everett) had a vision and worked hard on it,” Cascio said. “I’m glad to see this done. We owe a debt of gratitude to the government in Webster Parish. We had an idealistic attitude that we could change the world and things like this keeps that attitude alive.”
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) opened construction bids for the Doerge Landing boat launch in September 2007.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries made the boat ramp construction a special condition of their Scenic River permit in conjunction with the construction of three new bridges on La. 157. That meant the boat launch could not be constructed until the new bridges were completed and the existing bridge removed. The bridges and landing were completed earlier this year.
“I want to give a special thanks to Keith Cascio, Sen. Adley, the WPPJ and DOTD,” Rep. Jean Doerge said to the gathered crowd. “I also want to give recognition to a lady that works tirelessly on events like this and who I sometimes forget to thank. Lynn Dorsey, thank you for all you have done. None of this would have been possible without all of you. And I am so grateful for the naming of the launch. Everett would have liked that. Dorcheat is a beautiful stream and should be shared. This launch will make it possible for people to enjoy it. Thank all of you for honoring Everett in this way.”