Veterans Lake Area to Close for Improvement Work July 19, 2010
Contact: Eric Leonard, 580 622-7282
The Veterans Lake area of Chickasaw National Recreation Area’s Platt Historic District will close to the public on Monday, July 19th. The closure of the area will allow for two major construction projects to occur. The expected duration of the closure is six to nine months.
In conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation, the primary project will be a rehabilitation of the Veterans Lake Dam, intended to bring the dam into compliance with modern safety standards. The second project is the construction of the north shore portion of the Veterans Lake Trail, including a new west trailhead parking area. The North Shore trail will be approximately 1 mile long and be placed between the North Shore Road and the shoreline, with a connecting trail to Rock Creek Campground. The road across the dam and the parking lot at the south end of the dam will be removed and a trail and new parking lot at the north end of the dam will be built as a replacement. The North Shore trail construction will be funded with American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ie., economic stimulus) monies.
During the construction period, access to the Veterans Lake area and the Southwest Perimeter Road will be closed from U.S. Highway 177 to Rock Creek Campground. No access will be available to the Bromide Hill parking area, the north trailhead of the Rock Creek Multi-use trail, the Veterans Lake Trail and the Veterans Lake Pavilion during this time.
A recent incident underscores the need for the scheduled rehabilitation of the dam. On Thursday, June 18, park staff documented a visible slump on the roadway along the top of the Veterans Lake Dam. Essential personnel were notified Friday evening, and in consultation with the Bureau of Reclamation and other agencies, the area was closed. In accordance with established plans the siphon drain was opened and the lake level was lowered. On the morning of Saturday, June 19 park staff conducted an inspection of the visible portions of the dam to identify the problem. In consultation with partners, including the Bureau of Reclamation, a plan was developed to determine the cause of the deformity. On Sunday, June 20th, a Bureau of Reclamation engineer investigated and the site was stabilized until the rehabilitation project begins next month. The Dam section of Veterans Lake and the lower road was reopened Tuesday morning. The trail pavilion side road remained closed until at least Friday June 25th due to the ongoing cedar removal project.
Park Superintendent Bruce Noble said, “Visitors will have access to Veterans Lake and its facilities through the July 4th holiday. When completed, these projects will create a safer and more enjoyable area within the park for visitors to use for many years to come.”