Corps Delays Opening Rec Areas Along Navigation System - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Corps Blames Cuts For Delayed Opening Of Rec Areas In NE Oklahoma

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Photo of notice posted at Afton Landing. Photo of notice posted at Afton Landing.
Sign at Afton Landing Recreation Area. Sign at Afton Landing Recreation Area.

The Army Corps of Engineers is taking action to close a gap in their budget. They've closed several recreation areas right here in Green Country to save money, and some could be closed all summer.

The cuts impact 15 recreation areas along the McClellan Kerr Navigation Channel. They usually have only a few visitors now, but the closure could change some later plans, even beyond Memorial Day.

Over the weekend, the Army Corps posted signs at recreation areas saying they were closed. The popular boat launches and camp sites are blocked off to traffic, and the Corps blames federal budget cuts that lump critical operations for hydropower and navigation in with the costs of park rangers and bathroom maintenance.

"All of these things add up, and we don't want people coming out into what's basically an unsafe condition," said Ross Adkins, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

At the Bluff Landing near Broken Arrow, the gates were closed Sunday night, and now it's off limits to even people who just want to sit and eat lunch.

"There's not much to the park, so I'm surprised that's one of the things affected," said Nick Parsons.

Parsons said he's a regular there and he believes closing that spot isn't going to save the federal budget.

"You'd think having it open, they would be making money. You have to pay to use the launch ramp and everything else," Parsons said.

The budget cuts that closed the recreation areas were not enough to eliminate the annual Easter egg roll at the White House, though tours of the building have been canceled.

Back in Oklahoma, the Corps says the rec areas might open later, or not at all.

Adkins said the cuts could impact the lakes operated by the Corps, but, for now, it's just the recreation areas along the navigation channel.

"That's funded differently than the individual lakes. The individual lakes, we think, there's enough money to open them up and have them open for the season," Adkins said.

Some boat launches will remain open at the rec areas.

Below is a complete list of the affected areas:

1. Chouteau and Newt Graham Lock and Dams

  •   Afton Landing- Delayed
  •   Bluff Landing- Delayed
  •   Tullahassee Loop primitive campground- Delayed
  •   Highway 33 Landing and Coal Creek access areas will remain open for boat launching only.

2. R.S. Kerr Reservoir

  • Applegate Cove- Delayed
  • Short Mountain Cove- Delayed
  • Cowlington Point- Delayed
  • Damsite Day Use Area- Delayed
  • Tamaha Landing, Keota Landing, and Otter Creek access areas will remain open for boat launching only.

3. Webbers Falls

  • Brewers Bend- Delayed
  • Spaniard Creek- Delayed
  • Spaniard Creek Day Use Area and Highway 10 Landing will be open for boat launching only.

The Corps says services such as mowing, cleaning and restroom availability may not be provided if previously available at these ramps. 

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