• Little Niagra

    Chickasaw

    National Recreation Area Oklahoma

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  • Swimming Areas Closed

    Due to low water flow in Travertine Creek, the Little Niagara, Panther Falls, and Bear Falls swimming areas are closed until further notice. The Little Niagara and Panther Falls picnic areas remain open.

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    Due to low water in Lake of the Arbuckles, Eagle Bay Boat Launch is closed.

Proposed New Visitor Center Environmental Assessment Available for Public Review

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Date: April 28, 2011
Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 580-622-7282
Contact: Steve Burrough, 580-622-7261

The National Park Service (NPS) is making available for public review an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the construction of a new visitor center at Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Oklahoma. The EA evaluated the No Action Alternative, in which case the Travertine Nature Center would continue to serve as the defacto visitor center and the Preferred Alternative, which is construction of a new visitor center located adjacent to the Vendome Well on the south side of State Highway 7/Broadway Avenue.

The proposed new visitor center would be approximately 6,500 square feet and would include space for a lobby, information desk, interpretive exhibits, a multipurpose room, office space for interpretation staff, public restrooms, and storage. The building would incorporate sustainable design concepts using energy-efficient systems for passive solar heating, cooling, and natural lighting. Rustic/natural building materials would be used for compatibility with existing Civilian Conservation Corps era buildings and structures found in the park. Site work would include an outdoor plaza, additional water features, landscaping, and trail connections to access Vendome Well, Flower Park, Black Sulphur Springs, and existing trails. The new visitor center would use the existing parking area at Vendome Well plus additional parking that would be constructed to accommodate recreational vehicles, buses, and boat trailers. Rehabilitation of the Vendome Well and plumbing system is also a component of the proposed project.

The Travertine Nature Center, completed in 1969, is currently serving as the park’s defacto visitor center; however, that is not its intended use, it is difficult for visitors to find, and it does not provide the space or facilities for effectively meeting visitor needs. Construction of a new visitor center would allow the Nature Center to be used for its intended environmental education function. The new visitor center would be in a high visibility area with easy access from Highway 7 and better opportunities for serving visitors. The exhibits and interpretation at the proposed new visitor center would allow visitors to find comprehensive information about park natural and cultural resources, history, and the park’s significance. Visitors would be better able to plan their visit in the park and to other regional attractions to discover more about the scenic, recreational, and cultural resources in the area.

Because public participation is very important to the success of the project, the NPS encourages your review and comments on the EA. The EA will be on public review for 30 days, with comments accepted through May 26, 2011. The document is available electronically for review and comment online by visiting http://parkplanning.nps.gov, the website for the NPS’s Planning Environment and Public Comment system. A hard copy of the document will also be available for review at the following locations:

Park Headquarters
1008 W. Second Street
Sulphur, OK 73086-4818

Mary E. Parker Library
500 W. Broadway Avenue
Sulphur, OK 73086

Comments also may be sent to the address below.

Superintendent, Chickasaw National Recreation Area
1008 W. Second Street
Sulphur, OK 73086-4814

All comments – including personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While commentors can ask that their personal identifying information be withheld from public review, the National Park Service cannot guarantee that this will be possible.

If you have questions about the project or would like more information, contact Steve Burrough at 580-622-7261 or  Steve_Burrough@nps.gov.

Did You Know?

Park Ranger Forest Townsley at Platt National Park, 1910

In 1904 Forest Townsley was appointed the first park ranger in Platt National Park [the Platt Historic District in today's Chickasaw National Recreation Area]. In 1913 he transferred to Yosemite National Park, where he later became Chief Ranger. More...