Volunteers At Ancient Forest Trails Help Visitors Step Off Beaten Path

Monday, September 21st 2020, 5:43 pm
By: Sawyer Buccy

People in Sand Springs are giving up hours of their time on the weekends to educate others about the trails of the Keystone Ancient Forest.

Kathy Frazier has been a volunteer there for the last four years.

"We make sure that they know where they are going on the trails and help them to kind of get acclimated to where they are at," said Frazier, "It is a place where people can come and see something that has been here for thousands of years."

She could be anywhere on a Saturday morning but said it is worth it to be there. 

"I think it has something to do with the fact that I have been hiking in and around these woods for my entire life,” said Frazier.

Parks Director Jeff Edwards said it is that kind of commitment from volunteers that have made huge strides possible.

"Really it is because of them that we even have the successes that we have with now, with donors and sponsorship of up to a half a million dollars in private funding, to actually build a visitors center here," Edwards said. 

This property is special.

"We live such a fast-paced life, it is nice to just come out here and decompress, and not have all of that pressure that we have in our society today," said Frazier.

"It is protected, and it will always be that way," said Edwards. "These trees are like a lot of the trees that you would find in your backyard in Oklahoma. The difference here is that these are actually documented by the University of Arkansas, so they have been core drilled and sampled."

These volunteers will take as much time is needed to make sure everyone knows the history of this place and the stories it inspires, so that visitors can get on these trails and make your own memories.

"They have done a phenomenal job for 13 years,” Edwards said. “We could not have done it without them, and I am sure we can't do what we are hoping to do in the future without their continued support of the project.”

The new visitors center is scheduled to open at the beginning of 2021. Make sure you check the website to see when the trails are open.