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Eglin plans exercises on Lake Jackson

Lake Jackson in Florala will be closed on Thursday, May 31, but it could be the most entertaining day on the lake this season.

The Florala Council agreed Monday night to close the lake so that it can be available for a military exercise.

Mayor Terry Holley said members of the Ranger Training Battalion from Eglin will parachute from helicopters into the lake. Eglin is arranging for buses to transport troops and their families to Florala, and the helicopters will stage form the airport.

“The family will have an outdoor barbecue set up,” he said. “We are really proud to have them here.”

Holley said the military welcomes spectators for the exercises.

“Years ago,

The council plans to close the lake again on August 4 for when the Southern Drag Boat Association plans to host its second annual boat races there. Organizer Jay Jackson of Ozark said his group has organized a similar race annually at Ft. Rucker since 2007.

“Years ago we had a group from Eglin do this,” Holley said. “We brought two busloads of kids from the high school. The members of the Ospreys parachuted out, launched rubber boats and got their equipment to the shore. It was tremendous to watch.”

The city plans to add at least three new camp sites to the Lake Jackson campground, and locals are forming a Friends of Lake Jackson group to do projects on and around the lake. The next meeting is at 5:30 on May 3.