Why the Federal Government Shutdown Might be Good for Oklahoma State Parks

A hiker navigates through Robbers Cave State Park near Wilburton, Okla.

OakleyOriginals / Flickr

A hiker navigates through Robbers Cave State Park near Wilburton, Okla.

Federally run campsites, parks and pavilions at dozens of Oklahoma lakes controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have closed because of the federal government shutdown. But that’s not keeping people away from lakes like Texoma, Eufaula, and Tenkiller, it’s just funneling them into state parks instead.

Reporter Helen Headlee with KXII-TV talked to Glenn Thompson, who had just finished unpacking his gear and launching his boats at the Corps-run Lakeside Campgrounds on Lake Texoma in Marshall County. That’s when he got word the campsite was being closed:

So he packed up and left for Lake Texoma State Park.

“Good thing Oklahoma’s not in this thing because we got to stay here,” he said.

The office there told Headlee the park has been seeing an uptick in business since Tuesday, when gates to Corps campgrounds where closed.

Before then they had 15 campsites occupied. Now 27 additional sites are full. At $20 to $23 a night, that’s an extra $540 to $621 a night for the state park.

But the rows of RVs are brining money to the surrounding towns, too. The night manager at Country Kitchen in Kingston said they’re already seeing more customers.

As StateImpact reported on Wednesday, Oklahoma’s state parks are not impacted by the federal government shutdown. Corps-run areas will remain closed until the situation in Washington is resolved.


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