Hometown Heroes: Volunteers band together to make Bailey’s Road ‘great again’

Published 6:53 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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BRIDGE CITY — Bailey’s Road along Sabine Lake has long been a destination for families looking to catch fish or crabs and the outdoors enthusiast hoping to capture photos of wildlife.

The approximate 1.85 miles of road features four walk-on piers and has enough room for the families to line the road for a day in the sun.

But due to its location the road also attracted people dumping trash and animals.

A group of volunteers banded together about four years ago and decided enough was enough. Joseph Henry is co-founder of the volunteers who take time to clean trash and hold community events. A Facebook page dedicated to the work, “Let’s Make Bailey’s Great Again,” currently has about 3,500 members. Henry, along with others keeps the page updated on road conditions and much more.

Over the past few weeks, the area has seen a large amount of rainfall as well as flooding from a tropical storm that struck Mexico. Henry posts photos of the road to let visitors know if it is drivable or not.

Community work

Will Larrian said he was fishing at Bailey’s one day when Henry noticed he had a tractor and asked if he wanted to help out.

The answer was yes.

Larrian owns 409 Demo and Tree Service and has tractors and dump trucks and donates his time and equipment to pick up trash.

“Before we started doing that it was a real dump out there. People would dump trash, stray animals, until we got involved,” Larrian said. “It was out of control.”

Larrian had been going out to Bailey’s his whole life, he said, saying it’s a great place to fish if you don’t have a boat.

The Bailey’s group has held community events such as a kid’s fishing tournament and veteran’s fishing tournament.

Henry recalls one time there during the kid’s fishing tournament and they ended up with more prizes than kids.

“We started handing out prizes, their faces glowed like they won a million dollars,” Henry said.

Besides the cleanup work done by the volunteers, organizers work with local judges helping juveniles and adults who need to perform community service hours.

 Why do it?

Henry is a Bridge City graduate and a disabled veteran on a fixed income who loves Bailey’s and the area.

Larrian is also a regular at Bailey’s where he goes fishing. Volunteering to clean up is something he feels he should do.

“I don’t mind helping out. I’ve got a business and they help me and I help them back,” Larrian said.

But there’s more to just keeping the area clean.

“The preservation of it,” he said. “There are not a whole lot of places like that — one main drag where you can fish all at once. It needs to be preserved as much as possible.”

Bailey’s Road is the extension of Lake Drive and was once home to a fish camp and some of the city’s early settlers.