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Area Lakes Dealing With Storm Damage

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The ice storm also caused extensive damage to trees around area lakes. It is damage that will take quite some time to cleanup. The ice storm also caused extensive damage to trees around area lakes. It is damage that will take quite some time to cleanup.
Rangers are currently assessing damage, and determining what work needs to be prioritized. Rangers are currently assessing damage, and determining what work needs to be prioritized.
The damage is significant enough the corps may not be able to open all of its parks. The damage is significant enough the corps may not be able to open all of its parks.

Last month's massive ice storm also caused extensive damage to trees around area lakes. It is damage that will take quite some time to cleanup. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports caution is advised to those who are visiting state parks where damage occurred.

One reason the Hawthorne camping area at Oologah Lake is so popular is because of the many trees that shade the area. But, those trees took a hit from the ice storm. Park Ranger Amanda Peters says the damage is widespread.

"It looks like a bomb went off in the park, in my opinion. We have tons of trees that are down. We have a lot of hangers up in the trees that we can't get to," said park ranger Amanda Peters.

It's the same situation on other U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property. There was damage at Keystone.

"Sixty foot trees that were planted in 1974 or thereabouts just stripped. It's really saddening," said park ranger Paul Roberts.

Rangers are currently assessing damage, and determining what work needs to be prioritized.

"We have a lot of hangers up there in the trees and we've got to be able to rent equipment and get those down before they fall on somebody," said park ranger Paul Roberts.

It's a challenge considering, there is very little equipment, manpower or funding for cleanup.

If there is one thing working in their favor, it is that many of the corps parks are closed for the winter months. That will give them more time for cleanup before the busy tourist season. But the big question is will that be enough time to remove all of the debris.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hopes to have the debris cleared from Oologah and Keystone by then. But, some parks may not be open at all of the 38 lakes administered by the Tulsa District office.

"Hopefully funding will be available and we can get some contractors out here to do the work for us. It would be a lot quicker and they would have the right tools, as well," said park ranger Amanda Peters.

The Corps of Engineers had to close the Appalachia Bay off-road vehicle area near Keystone because of debris. It has since reopened, but rangers say anyone using the area should be extremely careful because of downed limbs and broken limbs hanging from trees.

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