Consolidation Plan Announced For Nine Oklahoma State Parks

Monday, June 7th 2010, 2:28 pm
By: News On 6

UNDATED -- The Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, Division of State Parks, has announced consolidation of nine state park facilities in northeastern Oklahoma into a new Grand Lake State Park.

Bernice, Cherokee, Disney, Honey Creek, Little Blue and Twin Bridges State Parks, as well as Spring River Canoe Trails on Grand Lake will now be called Grand Lake State Park.

Grand Cherokee Golf Course, Snowdale State Park on Lake Hudson and Spavinaw State Park below the spillway on Spavinaw Lake are also included in the merger and will be managed under Grand Lake State Park.

"This consolidation is a positive step on several levels," said Hardy Watkins, executive director, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. "It allows us to take advantage of the strong, well-known Grand Lake brand, combine resources of all smaller facilities which results in cost savings of approximately $130,000 a year, and continue to maintain all public access points to the lake."

Park areas will keep their current name, but eventually signage will be changed out to reflect the unified Grand Lake State Park name. For example, instead of Bernice State Park, visitors will now know this as the Bernice Area at Grand Lake State Park. Combined revenue for these nine areas in 2009 was $649,084 with a total attendance of 557,689 visitors.

"As a result of the merger, we are able to reduce the need to hire additional employees on a seasonal basis, thereby lowering our overall operational costs," said Tracey Robertson, manager, Grand Lake State Park. "The day-to-day operations of these areas will not be affected by the consolidation and park visitors will not see any changes to the existing facilities."