A group of people are working to raise funds to repair a public access boat ramp on the Sabine River at Grand Bluff.

The ramp, near the historic ferry crossing at FM 1794, was first installed in 1990 after a public fundraising campaign. Now it’s in need of major repairs because of rain and high river levels.

For more than 130 years the area around the boat ramp has been a center of activity in Panola County. Once the location of the Grand Bluff Ferry, this area is still the site of considerable activity, especially when the sand bass and perch are biting.

The Grand Bluff Ferry was the first ferry to cross the Sabine River in Panola County and when it was active had a vibrant community around it, including a hotel and a post office. When the ferry stopped running around the early 1900s, a bridge was built to accommodate travelers becoming the only Sabine crossing in Panola County at the time. The original bridge was replaced in the 1940s after it collapsed as a vehicle was crossing the river.

Due to the rain and high river levels, the riverbed under the boat ramp has washed out causing the ramp to collapse and break. The ramp has become unusable in low water conditions and now needs major repairs. A small group of local Panola County residents is working together to raise the funds to help rebuild the ramp to keep it open to the public.

A fundraising account has been opened at First State Bank & Trust Company in Carthage and anyone wishing to make a donation may call Cody Cockerham at (903) 746-7140 or Carlton Hudman at (903) 263-9140 for more information.