In the Spring and Summer of 2011 -- waves of wildfires washed across the ranch land and resort communities surrounding Possum Kingdom Lake -- more than 200 homes damaged or destroyed - more than 100-thousand acres scorched - and, with it, a public perception of widespread destruction that smolders long after the smoke has cleared.
One year later, the local chamber of commerce sponsored a floating tour of the lake -- "Out of the Ashes" they billed it -- with a look at the lake's signature landmark, called Hell's Gate -- the ongoing construction boom on shore -- boat ramps, hiking trails and camping areas.
"All the recreational facilities are fine," said Mark Engebretson of the Lake Country Sun newspaper. "They survived with no damage whatsoever."
The state park is a great example -- much of its woodland burned - but not the cabins and camping areas.
"The lake is beautiful we can hardly wait to get out on our boat." said Sandy Arkelin of Benbrook as she set up her tent. "The flowers were beautiful all the way from Benbrook. There's a lot of campsites. They're really nice. You got waterfront sites. Look at that lake. I mean the water is beautiful. It's so quiet and peaceful."
For park manager Rocky Holland the wildfires had unexpected benefits. "The fire did take out a lot of the Cedar trees. The Cedar trees are an invasive species. Which are not naturally in this part of the country. It opened up a lot of view sheds."
For now the decision is to leave the burnt trees standing - unless they pose a safety threat.
"We're just going to pretty much leave the park as is, let Mother Nature take it's course."
On the water, a series of golden algae blooms and fish kills have also damaged Possum Kingdom's reputation among fisherman - again, unfairly so according to those like Bob Hood, who fish it often.
"I think the fishing overall is better than it was when we had the first golden algae outbreak in 2001."
Possum Kingdom in the Spring of 2012 is renewed -- rains have filled the lake and greened the cliff side meadows.
Flowers and cactus bloom.
The wildlife flourishes.
And the locals, like Mark Engebretson want the outside world to know it.
"This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful, scenic areas in the nation."