Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 2, 2014

High traffic on river, lakes expected

TAHLEQUAH — Tourism season has kicked into high gear in Cherokee County, and visitors will soon be flocking to the Illinois River and Lake Tenkiller to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Jack Spears, owner of Arrowhead Resort on the river, is expecting a good holiday crowd.

“We’re having a good year,” said Spears. “The river levels are good, floating is nice and we’re very positive about everything.”

Spears said overnight accommodations are booked solid for the weekend, but there are still ample opportunities for floating.

“We still have sleeping accommodations during the week, but the way we work it is, we allow people to book rooms and campsites a year in advance. Consequently, we have very few weekend openings,” he said.

Arrowhead offers complete floating services, including rafts, kayaks and canoes. The site also is home to Smokin’ T’s barbecue on the weekends.

“They have some really good barbecue, and they serve breakfast, too,” said Spears.

Ed Fite, administrator of the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission, indicated most operators are reporting heavy crowds for the weekend.

“The majority of our operators are reporting they’re completely booked [for overnight stays],” said Fite. “They seem to have some flexibility for floating on Saturday, but I would strongly recommend anyone planning on heading down to float to call their operator ahead of time and make a reservation.”

Fite said river flow remains above average for this time of year, and the water is in good condition.

“E. coli continues to be in the news, but is rarely an issue on the river,” said Fite. “We only get concerned if the water is a muddy, chocolate color, as it indicates a runoff event. Right now, the water is a nice bluish-green color and is flowing well.”

A generation ago, canoes were the most popular flotation device, Fite said.

“But now, rafts are certainly No. 1,” said Fite. “There’s also been a strong surge and demand for kayaks, so commercial operators are working to keep up with that demand. You’ll see a lot more Jackson and Riviera kayaks, for one and two people, on the river now. It’s amazing how it’s changed. Now, fewer than 5 percent of the devices on the river are canoes.”

Despite optimum floating conditions, Fite said safety is always a concern. He reminds visitors that rafts are not to be tied together.

“Also, if you’re not a strong swimmer or boater, you should always wear a life jacket,” said Fite. “Our rangers will be out, and we also discourage the use of rope swings, as they have become an issue this summer. We’ve had to fly two individuals out to seek medical care after having a mishap with rope swings. It’s important for people to check below the water’s surface for debris, and never, ever dive.”

Barbara Kelly, owner of Diamondhead Resort, also indicated her operation is booked solid for overnight accommodations. Diamondhead also offers kayaks, rafts and canoes, and visitors should call ahead for a reservation.

“The Fourth of July is our big weekend,” said Kelly. “We’ll have live music, with Red Eye Gravy playing Thursday, July 3, and Randy Crouch and Flying Horse on Friday, July 4, along with our big fireworks display.”

Diamondhead now also offers a full bar and grill. The Gravel Bar opened Memorial Day weekend, with a full menu.

Those who prefer wide open spaces won’t want to miss the recreational activities at Lake Tenkiller. The state of Oklahoma and the U.S. Corps of Engineers manage 10 marinas and 14 parks with many different facilities around the lake. There are 24 boat launching ramps around the lake, three floating restaurants, and many islands to explore.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers all swimming beaches at the lake are open for visitors. Earlier in June, Snake Creek, Chicken Creek and Cookson Bend beaches were temporarily closed due to high elevations of E. coli. As of June 26, all beaches were re-opened after testing indicated E. coli levels were within acceptable ranges.

The Greater Tenkiller Area Association will host the Fireworks Extravaganza Friday, July 4, beginning around dusk, on the south end of the lake near Tenkiller State Park. According to organizers, the area between the two big islands should afford excellent viewing for boaters. In addition, the shoot site is somewhat higher in elevation this year, so there should be excellent viewing in the central part of the lake, perhaps as far north as Cookson Bend and Sixshooter.

tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.

     

    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn cvbc fire.jpg Church catches fire after burglaries

    Authorities are looking for the person accused of breaking into the Crescent Valley Baptist Church two times this week and likely causing a fire that damaged the youth building early Wednesday morning.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw Humane photo.tif More volunteers needed to house strays, help with spay-and-neuter

    Furry friends may seem like the perfect addition to round out a family.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana, seeds lead to four arrests

    Four people were arrested on marijuana related charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop on South Muskogee Avenue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sex offender found living in tent at river

    Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators arrested a convicted sex offender this week when they discovered he has been living in a tent along the river.

    July 24, 2014

  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Stocks