Popular Mannford Campground Now Open All Year

Friday, March 14th 2014, 10:40 pm
By: Tess Maune

Rain or shine, Spring Break has begun for most Green Country students. And for families who are looking for a getaway close to home, there's a new, but old, place to go on Lake Keystone.

It's been a camping spot for years, run by the Army Corps of Engineers. It's typically closed in March, but not this year. The Corps leased the park to the City of Mannford, so the park is open now, just waiting for the campers and revenue to come.

The wind may be blowing, but the sun is shining, and the fish are biting. And that's a good thing for Jerry Looney, a regular on Keystone Lake, more specifically, at the Salt Creek Campground.

"Been out fishing all day and caught some fish," Looney said.

He and his wife have been camping in the park for as many as 40 years.

"We've got a fifth wheel, we come up and camp during the summertime and fall and the spring," Looney said.

In year's past, Salt Creek closed from October to April. But now that Mannford is operating the park, it will be open year around.

Mayor Tyler Buttram said the city plans to make some updates to the campground. The electrical pedestals will go from 30 to 50 amp and the amount of water hook ups will double, so every campsite will eventually have its own.

"If it's anything like our New Mannford Ramp Park, which we took over 12 years ago, it should stay booked most of the year," Buttram said.

As a part of the lease, Buttram said any money generated from park fees must go back into the park for maintenance and whatnot. But he said the upgrades will bring in more campers, which in turn, will boost traffic and sales tax revenue in the city.

Right now about 14,000 vehicles drive through Mannford every day. In the summertime, that number is upward of 20,000, and with the city's new lease it hopes that number only increase.

"The important part is what the businesses will generate off of this, it's a give back to them and the more they prosper, the more the city will prosper," Buttram said.

And as long as the fish keep biting, Buttram can count on longtime lake lovers, like Looney, to continue bringing their campers to town.

"I've liked camping my whole life, as soon as my wife retires we will spend a lot of time up here," Looney said.

The city will be leasing Salt Creek for the next 25 years. There are 140 campsites, many still available for Spring Break, because the city still trying to get the word out that it's open this year.

It's $18 a day to camp, and you can call 918-865-2845 for more information.