White Rock Lake in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU via YouTube.

In the 1970s, there were three sailing clubs using White Rock Lake. And it was also a popular place for fishing.

But according to one KERA report, sailors began abandoning the East Dallas park for other water sources because the water was becoming too shallow. Trash and debris filled the water, reducing the area that could be used for boating.

“The silt problem is primarily an engineering one, but the lake’s ecology must be a concern,” the reporter says.

Neighbors were also concerned about traffic around the lake. Apparently, one park department official said he was surprised that there weren’t more accidents in the area, especially on the weekends, because so many people drove there.

Officials were considering adding a second roadway that would run parallel to Lawther Drive and be separated by a green space. Each drive would be one-way.

“It must be studied, but must it be done?” the reporter asks. “Is not an alternative to ban automobiles altogether in the park, or in parts of it, as Yosemite and some of the larger western parks have had to do?”

Another consideration to help alleviate congestion on Buckner Boulevard and Garland Road was to extend Lake Highlands Drive across Dixon Branch to meet Lakeland Drive.

Lake Highlands Drive to Lakeland Drive. Photo courtesy of G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU via YouTube.

“Everybody expected the silt to eat up White Rock, but not many of us expected it to be destroyed by car. That is a distinct possibility,” the reporter says. “Sometime, our city must put a value on its assets, both natural and created.”

These concerns of traffic and water pollution haven’t gone away. For the Love of the Lake holds monthly trash pick-ups because the litter is still there. Here’s a photo one neighbor sent to The Advocate just this week.

Photo by Nyda Faith.

“When I saw this last night, I found it so disturbing,” Nyda Faith wrote to us. “Why all the styrofoam cups and plastic water bottles? Is this what the people who love WRL do to the wildlife that try to survive in this body of water?”

On the Save White Rock Lake Facebook group, neighbors share ideas about how to remove some of that debris, suggesting options such as trash wheels and trash screens.

Watch the KERA report below.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.