Government Shutdown Shutters Federal Parks And Lakes In Oklahoma

Oct 1, 2013

Lake Eufaula visitors swim at a beach near Texanna, Okla.
Credit EINAHPETS32 / Flickr Creative Commons

Thousands of federal workers in Oklahoma face furloughs and U.S. government services have been limited by the shutdown that began at midnight Oct. 1.

The shutdown also means national parks and recreation areas at federally run lakes are closed. That means no camping, fishing, boating or swimming at Eufaula, Texoma and Tenkiller, at least at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facilities.

Visitors are being turned away from 29 Oklahoma lakes, according to the Corps, which released a statement explaining the situation, and is kicking out anyone currently camping at the lakes it controls.

Beginning Oct. 1, and continuing through the end of the shutdown … no new visitors will be allowed into, or reservations accepted for, Corps recreation facilities. Campers who are on site prior to the shutdown going into effect will be required to vacate campgrounds not later than 8 p.m. on Oct. 2.

Basically, pack out your trash and leave. That goes for anyone at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, too, and any other national park, recreation area, or wildlife refuge.Craig Day reports on visitors will be “told to leave immediately and entrances will be closed.”

Day spoke to Bill and Elaine Chaney, who visit Fort Gibson Lake often for extended stays. Bill says he’s too old to worry about Washington:

“…I don’t want to miss out on the fun, I’d come out here if I had to sneak in,” he said, laughing. “…I’m just about to turn 74 next week, I don’t have time to mess with those people in the White House.”

Elaine says a lot of full-time RVers like her and her husband won’t have anywhere to go. While that shouldn’t have a major impact on local economies in the short term, if the shutdown lasts for weeks or longer, communities that depend on tourism — especially in eastern Oklahoma could start to feel the impact.

The Oklahoma lakes run by the U.S. Corps of Engineers include:

  • Arcadia Lake
  • Arkansas River – Chouteau Lock and Dam
  • Arkansas River – Newt Graham Pool
  • Arkansas River – Robert S. Kerr Pool
  • Arkansas River – W.D. Mayo Pool
  • Arkansas River – Webbers Falls Pool
  • Birch Lake
  • Broken Bow Lake
  • Canton Lake
  • Copan Lake
  • Eufaula Lake
  • Fort Gibson Lake
  • Fort Supply Lake
  •  Great Salt Plains Lake
  • Heyburn Lake
  • Hugo Lake
  • Hulah Lake
  • John Paul Hammerschmidt Lake
  • Kaw Lake
  • Keystone Lake
  • Lake Texoma
  • Oologah Lake
  • Optima Lake
  • Pine Creek Lake
  • Sardis Lake
  • Skiatook Lake
  • Tenkiller Ferry Lake
  • Waurika Lake
  • Wister Lake


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