I marked an item off my bucket list last week when I visited Reelfoot Lake in Northwest Tennessee.

Only about 20 minutes from the Arkansas state line, Reelfoot Lake encompasses 15,000 acres in Lake and Obion counties. Like our own Big Lake near Manila, Reelfoot Lake was created during the New Madrid earthquake in 1811. Reelfoot and Big Lake formed almost instantly when the earthquake caused the land adjacent to the Mississippi River to fall below the river level. The Mississippi River backflowed to fill these new lowlands, creating some of the richest wildlife habitat on the planet.

Before they were drained and levied for agriculture, these lowlands, collectively known as The Big Woods, provided millions of acres of wetland habitat for migratory waterfowl. They also supported a rich and diverse fishery.

Nowadays, Big Lake and Reelfoot Lake are about all that’s left of The Big Woods…

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