Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Government Shutdown Shutters Federal Parks and Campsites in Oklahoma

Lake Eufaula visitors swim at a beach near Texanna, Okla.

Einahpets32 / Flickr

Lake Eufaula visitors swim at a beach near Texanna, Okla.

Thousands of federal workers in Oklahoma face the prospect of furloughs and U.S. government services have been limited by the shutdown that began at midnight Oct. 1.

The shutdown also means national parks and many recreation areas at federally run lakes are closed. That means no camping, fishing, boating or swimming, at least at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facilities around lakes like Eufaula, Texoma and Tenkiller.

State and private campgrounds and parks are not impacted by the shutdown and are not closed.

But visitors will be turned away from federal controlled areas, according to the Corps, which released a statement explaining the situation.

Beginning Oct. 1, and continuing through the end of the shutdown … no new visitors will be allowed into, or reservations accepted for, Corps recreation facilities. Campers who are on site prior to the shutdown going into effect will be required to vacate campgrounds not later than 8 p.m. on Oct. 2.

Basically, pack out your trash and leave. That goes for anyone at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, too, and any other Corps operated park, recreation area, or wildlife refuge. Craig Day reports on NewsOn6.com visitors will be “told to leave immediately and entrances will be closed.”

Day spoke to Bill and Elaine Chaney, who visit Fort Gibson Lake often for extended stays. Bill says he’s too old to worry about Washington:

“…I don’t want to miss out on the fun, I’d come out here if I had to sneak in,” he said, laughing. “…I’m just about to turn 74 next week, I don’t have time to mess with those people in the White House.”

Elaine says a lot of full-time RVers like her and her husband won’t have anywhere to go. While that shouldn’t have a major impact on local economies in the short term, if the shutdown lasts for weeks or longer, communities that depend on tourism — especially in eastern Oklahoma could start to feel the impact.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story implied Oklahoma lakes controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were completely closed. In fact, these lakes can be accessed through the state and private parks and facilities surrounding them, which will not close.

The Oklahoma lakes run by the U.S. Corps of Engineers include:

  • Arcadia Lake
  • Arkansas River – Chouteau Lock and Dam
  • Arkansas River – Newt Graham Pool
  • Arkansas River – Robert S. Kerr Pool
  • Arkansas River – W.D. Mayo Pool
  • Arkansas River – Webbers Falls Pool
  • Birch Lake
  • Broken Bow Lake
  • Canton Lake
  • Copan Lake
  • Eufaula Lake
  • Fort Gibson Lake
  • Fort Supply Lake
  •  Great Salt Plains Lake
  • Heyburn Lake
  • Hugo Lake
  • Hulah Lake
  • John Paul Hammerschmidt Lake
  • Kaw Lake
  • Keystone Lake
  • Lake Texoma
  • Oologah Lake
  • Optima Lake
  • Pine Creek Lake
  • Sardis Lake
  • Skiatook Lake
  • Tenkiller Ferry Lake
  • Waurika Lake
  • Wister Lake


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  • Janet Cress

    This information on this link is false
    information. Broken Bow Lake and Beavers Bend State Park will remain open
    as the corp does not control our recreational areas around the lake and
    park. Our state does

  • Dian Jordan

    Broken Bow Lake is NOT closed. All the recreation areas are operated by the
    State of Oklahoma. Beavers Bend State Park is open. Hundreds of private
    business owners continue to work providing private tourism and recreation
    options for cabin rentals, horseback riding, kayak and canoes, hiking trails,
    museums and cultural centers, nature photography and art. We espcially invite
    furloughed federal workers to spend their time in McCurtain County and at
    Broken Bow Lake.

  • shara

    HickoryHillCabins.com is OPEN. Five minutes from OPEN Broken Bow Lake and OPEN Beavers Bend State Park. Cabins starting at $85/night!

  • shara

    Broken Bow Lake is NOT CLOSED!!

  • Logan Layden

    Thanks for the comments, and we’re sorry for the confusion here. The story has been updated to clarify that, while federally run campsites and facilities around Corps operated lakes are closed, the state/private campgrounds and parks are not impacted by the shutdown and are open.

  • Kerry Pece

    Ketchum bait shop located off of highway 82 at grand lake has camper rentals available. We also have a twenty four hour bait shop. Call 9183236662 for more information.

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