Marina Opens On Arkansas River
A new, multi-million dollar marina is now open on the Arkansas River in Muskogee. It's called Three Forks Harbor; it's designed to attract more boaters to that stretch of the river.
The News On 6's Chris Wright reports officials say the Arkansas has never reached its potential, but they hope the new development is a step in the right direction.
Over the past five weeks, Three Forks Harbor's new manager has traveled more 1,100 miles from his home in Alabama to the Port of Muskogee. He says he ran into plenty of other boaters, but once he reached Oklahoma, he pretty much had the Arkansas to himself.
"I'm really surprised at how little the river is traveled. So we want to promote river activity, river boating," said Wayne McManus.
McManus will promote boating by running Three Forks. A $12 million facility, it provides fuel and boat slips for travelers.
The River Center, which opens in mid-July, will have a cafeteria, museum and conference center. The goal is to make the stretch of river a more attractive destination.
The McManus's have spent the past 34 days living in their boat, and they're hoping people who are making similar trips across the country, will choose to stay in Muskogee.
"I'm not sure why that has not happened prior to now here, but we just hope to promote that, and see if we can't contribute to that," said McManus.
The facility was funded by a mix of private and public funds, and officials say plans for a marina have actually been in the works for over 30 years.
"This was just a culmination of a lot of planning and years of work and something to promote Oklahoma," said Lewis McLemore of the Port of Muskogee.
McManus, who says his trip to Oklahoma was the longest he's ever been on, hopes more people will choose to explore the Arkansas.
"It's the freedom, it's the relaxation, it's an opportunity to see the country from an entirely different perspective," said McManus.
McManus says there are more cross-country boater than you might think. There is actually a group that completes America's 'Great Loop,' the people who travel up the East Coast, then across the Great Lakes, and finally down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.