Sabine River (Texas-Louisiana)

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The Sabine River (pronounced /səˈbiːn/) is a river, 555 miles (893 km) long, in the U.S. states of Texas and Louisiana. In its lower course, it forms part of the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake, an estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. The river formed part of the United States-Mexican international boundary during the early 19th century. The upper reaches of the river flow through the prairie country of northeast Texas. Along much of its lower reaches, it flows through pine forests along the Texas-Louisiana border, and the bayou country near the Gulf Coast. The river drains an area of 9,756 square miles (25,270 km²), of which 7,426 square miles (19,230 km²) is in Texas and the remainder in Louisiana. It flows through an area of abundant rainfall and discharges the largest volume of any river in Texas. The name Sabine (Sp: Río de Sabinas) comes from the Spanish word for cypress, in reference to the extensive growth of such trees (here Bald cypresses) along the lower river. The river flows through an important petroleum-producing region, and the lower river near the Gulf is among the most industrialized areas of the southeastern United States.

The river was often described as the dividing line between the Old South and the New Southwest



The Sabine rises in northeast Texas by the union of three branches: the Cowleech Fork, Caddo Fork, and South Fork. The Cowleetch Fork rises in northwestern Hunt County and flows southeast for 35 miles (56 km). The Caddo Fork rises in two tributary forks, the East Caddo Fork and the West Caddo Fork, in northwestern Hunt County. The South Fork rises in the southwestern corner of Hunt County and flows east for 18 miles (29 km), joining the Caddo Fork and Cowleech Fork in southeastern Hunt County. The confluence of the forks is now submerged in the Lake Tawakoni reservoir. The combined river flows southeast across northeast Texas and is joined by a fourth branch, the Lake Fork 40 mi (64 km) downstream from the reservoir.

In northeast Texas, the river flows past Mineola, Gladewater, and Longview, the largest city on the river to southwest of Shreveport at the 32nd parallel north, where it establishes the Texas-Louisiana boundary. It flows south, forming the state line for the remainder of its course. It is impounded 10 mi (16 km) west of Leesville, Louisiana to form the 70 mi (112 km) long Toledo Bend Reservoir, with the Sabine National Forest along its western bank. South of the reservoir it passes through the bayou country, surrounded by wetlands, as well as widespread industrial areas near the Gulf Coast. Approximately 10 mi (15 km) south of Orange, Texas, it meets the Neches River from the west to form the 17 mi (27 km) long and 7 mi (11 km) wide Sabine Lake, which drains through Sabine Pass to the Gulf of Mexico. The city of Port Arthur, Texas sits along the western shore of Sabine Lake.

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