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Contact: Eric Leonard, 580 622-7282
As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, the park staff at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is reminding visitors to keep safety in mind while visiting the park. Important tips for a safe and enjoyable visit to Chickasaw NRA and the Lake of the Arbuckles include:
· Too much sun exposure is the most common summer injury. Keep your skin protected with light–colored clothing, sunglasses, a hat, and use sunscreen.
· In the summertime, temperatures here at Chickasaw can reach over 100º F. If you are outside anywhere in the park, listen to your body. You need to drink water, replenish electrolytes, and stay cool. Sodas and alcohol only dehydrate you.
· Oklahoma is a land of extreme weather with possibilities ranging from hypothermia in the winter to heat stroke in the summer. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are also possible. Know what type of weather is forecast and be prepared. Keep a watch on the skies and be ready to get off the lake. Check park bulletin boards for the locations of city storm shelters.
· Keep your campsite clean. Take trash and food scraps to a trashcan. Do Not Feed the Animals. Not even once. It’s bad for them and they can hurt you. Don’t touch, don’t feed.
· Enjoying the great outdoors includes the many insects and animals as a part of the experience. There are a number of bugs and reptiles in this healthy ecosystem that can bite or sting you. This includes but is not limited to: spiders, snakes, ticks, bees, scorpions, leeches, and fire ants. Take precautions to avoid getting injured.
· The beautiful varied landscape here at Chickasaw is very tempting to climb and jump from, especially into our lakes and streams. Understand that this can cause serious injuries. Be smart, check the area, only jump feet first or not at all!
· Our lakes do not have flat bottoms and have very irregular shorelines. When the water levels change, the underwater hazards also change. Always be alert to other boats on the lake, assume the other boats and personal watercraft can not see you, and steer clear. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children. Keep life jackets handy and make sure kids and non-swimmers are wearing them at all times.
· Everyone knows that driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous, illegal and a good way to die or kill someone. The same goes for boating, PWCs, and swimming. Even if you aren’t driving a boat or PWC, drinking alcohol impairs your judgment, your reflexes and your ability to save yourself or others.
Visitor facilities throughout the park will have extended hours through the Labor Day weekend:
Travertine Nature Center — Located in the eastern portion of the Platt Historic District, the nature center is the park’s primary visitor facility. Open Daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. For information, call 580-622-7234.
VisitorInformation Center— 717 W. Broadway, Sulphur. Open Daily 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Closed for lunch. For information, call 580-622-7236.
Buckhorn Ranger Station — Open Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Closed for lunch. For information, call 580-622-7292.
Each summer weekend, Friday through Sunday, two programs daily will be offered at the Travertine Nature Center. Join a park ranger at 9:30 a.m. for the Travertine Traverse walk to explore the natural and cultural environment along Travertine Creek. At 3:00 p.m. visitors are invited to Beat the Heat, in the Travertine Nature Center auditorium for ranger-led programs exploring a variety of topics.
A Junior Ranger program is available for kids of all ages. You can start your Junior Ranger experience at the Travertine Nature Center or the Junior Ranger Station. Located at the entrance to the Cold Springs Campground, the Junior Ranger Station is open during summer weekends.
Evening programs are also offered at the Cold Springs, Point and Buckhorn campgrounds at 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. These programs may cover a variety of park resources.
Each vessel that uses the Lake of the Arbuckles requires a permit. Annual and day-use permits can be purchased at fee machines located around the park at the Point, Buckhorn and Guy Sandy launch ramp fee machines as well as the Visitor Information Station in downtown Sulphur. A daily permit costs $4.00 per day; the annual permit is $30. Annual Permit receipts, which are heat and light sensitive, are redeemable in exchange for the annual sticker within one week of purchase.
Program schedules and additional information is always available on-line at the park’s website: www.nps.gov/chic/