We’ve been blessed with a fairly mild winter, and if you go to Turkey Mountain on any given day – and especially on weekends – people have taken advantage of it. You see a lot of cyclists, runners, hikers, and even folks on horseback. Social media is peppered with folks from the Tulsa area chronicling their adventures at Turkey Mountain.
But more recently, a video surfaced showing something else. It showed someone on a motorcycle getting ready to take off down the Powerline Trail.
Special thanks to our friend Tony Russell at KOTV News on 6 for alerting us!
We can see why people might be tempted to bring off-road motorcycles or ATVs to Turkey Mountain. But before you do, there are things you should know.
First, as an entity of the River Parks system, motorized vehicles of any kind are prohibited from use at Turkey Mountain. That includes any sort of ATVs.
But second, you should understand why this is the case.
If you’re on your motorcycle or ATV, there is a strong chance you will be moving much faster than other users, even those on off-road bicycles. The likelihood of your ATV running up to other users is very high.
With most of the trails in heavily wooded areas, it is unlikely you would see someone in front of you or crossing your path until they were a few feet from you. And given the noise that comes with ATV use, you certainly won’t hear others.
The trails are almost all singletrack, meaning that they are wide enough for passage of a single runner, cyclist or rider on horseback. These tight confines make it difficult to maneuver on highly trafficked trails, raising the risk of collisions greatly. No one wants to see an accident between an ATV and a runner, cyclist, or a horse.
And finally, there is the issue of wear and tear on the trails. All user traffic has some impact on trails, but motorized vehicles tend to have the greatest impact and chew up the pathways the most. The trails at Turkey Mountain were not designed to withstand the punishment of motorized vehicles of any kind.
So what should you do?
In short, find places that are better suited for ATV use, meaning areas that are more wide-open and where the risk of running into other users is lessened.
Family and friends who own larger pieces of property can give you better options, and without the risk of potentially injurious incidents with other people. You can tear it up in complete freedom, with just you and your friends.
A number of state parks have facilities built with ATV usage in mind. Lake Murray State Park, Little Sahara State Park, Talimena State Park and Robbers Cave State Park all include areas designated for ATV use. Dozens of other sites throughout Oklahoma also offer places for motorcycle and ATV off-road recreation. So if you don’t mind a little time on the road, you can make quite a weekend of it in places that cater to you.
There are also places you can go in the Ouachita National Forest in McCurtain County. Check out the regulations for that, but be secure in knowing there are some great places to ride in some of the most beautiful countryside in all of Oklahoma.
One of the things the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition stands for is people enjoying the outdoors, and we encourage you to do so responsibly. We certainly extend this to our friends who enjoy themselves on their ATVs. But in the case of Turkey Mountain, we’d ask that people find a place better suited for the higher speeds that motorized fun can bring, and to help keep Turkey Mountain wild.