Travertine Nature Center Blog - Archive

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28 February 2009 | 31 December 2008 | 27 December 2008 | 21 November 2008


Saturday, 28 February 2009
Ranger Eric writing today - we often speak of the winter-time as a slow season for the park, and in some ways it is; lately it feels like we have been very busy. Earlier this month the park commemorated the centennial of the Lincoln Bridge with a short ceremony at the bridge, on the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, one hundred years to the day after the original dedication of the bridge. We plan to continue programs in the Flower Park area this year to talk more about the bridge and its role in park use and park history.

The other item making news here is the lack of water. The Lake of the Arbuckles is about four and a half feet below normal reservoir depth; in the Platt Historic District, Travertine Creek and the two springs that feed it are largely dry. Recent dry weather conditions and a lack of rainfall are contributing factors which serve to remind us how we often take some resources for granted. Dry conditions like this have occurred in the past; the last extended dry period for Antelope and Buffalo Springs was over twenty years ago.

We are also beginning to prepare for the spring school program season and the upcoming summer season, so it looks like the staff at the nature center will remain busy in the coming weeks and months before Memorial Day.
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A warm fire in the nature center's fireplace.

NPS/Eric Leonard

Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Ranger Eric here - in anticipation of the end of the year, I spent the morning cleaning out the fireplace here at the nature center. This time of year we often have a fire going (that is, if the outside temperature is under sixty degrees).

The nature center will be closed in observance of New Years Day on January first. We will close from January 5-8 for some wintertime housecleaning and exhibit maintenance. Beginning Friday January 9, the nature center will be open 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. daily (see this news release for more information).

Best wished for a happy new year! We hope to see you in the park or at the nature in 2009, and if it's cold outside, we might even have a fire going for you.
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The Buffalo Spring comfort station in its present, abandoned, state.

NPS/Chickaw NRA

Saturday, 27 December 2008
Hi! Ranger Eric writing today. Our normally slow winter pace has been punctuated by holiday season and the accompanying rush of post-holiday visitors. Unlike much of the country, central Oklahoma has been enjoying generally temperate weather with the occasional day or two at or below freezing.

Just before the holiday a contractor began work on a project to slipline the sewer from the area of the nature center upstream to the old comfort station adjacent Buffalo and Antelope Springs. Sections of piping are visible in places along the trail. Work should begin in earnest after the New Year.

Originally built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this comfort station served a nearby picnic area located between the two springs. The portion of the perimeter road that reached the springs was closed in 1968 in advance of the construction of the nature center. The building remained open to serve those visitors hiking to the springs until 1973, when it was closed.

The comfort station is located near the furthest point on a 1 1/2 mile round-trip trail. While closed, some visitors have used the exterior of the building to answer their calls of nature. Reopening the building will provide a convenience to visitors and restore another historic structure to use; a testament to the work of the CCC boys and their work here seventy years ago.
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Park ranger dressed in historic costume
Ranger Eric dressed as a park ranger from the 1930s

Friday, 21 November 2008
Hi! Ranger Eric writing today. Autumn has fallen upon the park; by this time of the month most of the trees are bare of leaves. Turkeys and deer can be commonly seen in the vicinity of the Nature Center. It’s a good time to be in the park.

November is American Indian Heritage Month. In honor of the occasion, this is a good opportunity to explore the park’s connection to its namesake, the people of the Chickasaw Nation. When the modern park was created by combining two smaller national parks, Congress designated that the park be called Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The new name of the park was chosen to honor the Chickasaw people and their unique role in creating the park.

Many of the large national parks in the American West were created by taking away traditional tribal lands – that story is reversed here! The park exists because just over one hundred years ago the Chickasaw people saw that the best way to preserve the freshwater and mineral springs found here was to give them to the United States Government. So, in 1902, the U.S. Congress established the Sulphur Springs Reservation here, and purchased the land from the Chickasaw Nation. More information about the establishment of the park at the beginning of the Twentieth Century can be found in Douglas McChristian’s excellent history of the early years of the park.

By the summer of 2009 the Chickasaw Nation will open a Cultural Center just to the west of the park. This facility will provide a place for the public to learn more about the Chickasaw Nation and should greatly complement the story of the park.
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Last updated: February 24, 2015

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