Two Lake Tenkiller Campsites Reopen In Time For Labor Day Weekend

Friday, September 3rd 2010, 5:35 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

CHEROKEE COUNTY -- Roads are filling with Labor Day weekend travelers.

AAA Oklahoma says travel by Oklahomans will be up nearly nine percent over last year. They'll pay about a dime more for gas this year than last Labor Day weekend.

Lakes will be full, too. Some campsites at one popular Green Country lake have reopened just in time for the holiday weekend.

Michelle Ratliff is looking forward to a nice, relaxing Labor Day weekend with her mom and sister, the sunshine and the lake.

"Took off today, we're all off work and so we're going to enjoy a long weekend," Ratliff said.

Ratliff and her family are among some of the first campers to get to camp at the Pettit Bay Two Recreation Area all summer. It just reopened after being closed for most of the summer season.

"Very frustrating, for both the campers and us, because people have been camping here for 30 years and when their campsite is closed, they let us know about it," said Debi Christie, Park Ranger.

The Army Corps of Engineers closed the camping area, along with Elk Creek, this summer to make repairs and upgrade the campsites.

"This is it. This is a campground makeover," said Cory Bowlin, park ranger.

The campsites now have larger pads, new grills and tables, and improved electric hookups and pavement.

"They really needed to do something, so I'm glad they decided to do some work on it," said Ratliff.

Many other campers have also taken notice.

"It's not all rusty, and it's all brand new, and padded. It's great," said Brandi Williams, a camper.

The Army Corps of Engineers says the upgrades were needed after severe flooding in 2007 and 2008 caused significant damage to the campsites.

"A lot of these campsites were built in the 60's and they were in need of repair anyway," said Christie.

Park Rangers say they hated closing the campsites this summer, but they're glad to at least have them open in time for Labor Day.

"They're nicer. People are going to enjoy them much better, I believe," said Bowlin.

There are still some campsites available at the Pettit Bay Two, and Elk Creek recreation areas at Lake Tenkiller. They'll go on a first come, first served basis.