Tag Archives: Public Outcry

TUWC – Land Donations to River Parks Authority

With Thursday’s news of land donations to Turkey Mountain, it’s important to take a long view back to what made this happen. In addition to lands donated by the city of Tulsa to the Tulsa River Parks Authority, the George Kaiser Family Foundation donated even more, bringing the total to around 400 acres. These donations triple River Parks Authority’s land inventory at Turkey Mountain.

GKFF has been a forward-thinking entity when it comes to preserving land at Turkey Mountain, buying up parcels for well over a decade. It has been patient, waiting for the city to commit to a vision for the area that dates back to the late 1970s – to keep that section of land along the Arkansas River as wild and free as possible, for the purpose of giving Tulsans a place to enjoy the outdoors in a natural setting.

The trend has been heading that way. Plans for an outlet mall on Turkey Mountain’s western edge were loudly rejected by the public, and the city listened. The land was included in the latest Vision Tulsa sales tax package, taking it off the market.

Next came dealing with the inherent instability of Turkey Mountain’s land leases. Monthly lease terms meant the possibility existed that lands leased to RPA could be wild one month, then developed commercially the next. A master lease program has ended that, providing a more stable and clear future for Turkey Mountain.

And now we have Thursday’s land donation, the moment that GKFF and many other advocates for Turkey Mountain have been waiting for. A hodgepodge of public and private land holdings is now being further unified, which will give planners the needed certainty that Turkey Mountain can be a long-term site for outdoor recreation.

For years, Turkey Mountain has been a magnet for mountain bikers, runners, hikers and nature enthusiasts. We now have greater assurance that this quality-of-life asset will remain so for the foreseeable future. Turkey Mountain serves as an important site for preserving the health of the city’s air and water, and is a major asset in the area’s promising outdoor recreation economy.

Thursday’s news is good for all Tulsans, now and in the future. For this, we owe the George Kaiser Family Foundation no small amount of gratitude. Its long-term thinking is paying off.

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TUWC: The passing of a Tulsa Parks Friend

We felt the need to mark the passing of a friend today. To echo the words of former Mayor Terry Young

“In 1977, at the urging of Tulsa Tribune editor John Drummond, I initiated the effort to acquire Turkey Mountain to preserve and designate as an urban wilderness park. The effort would not have been successful if it had not been for Chris Delaporte, former state parks director. Chris was serving as President Carter’s head of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and approved a federal grant to match our local county money.”

Over the decades Chris has kept a watchful eye on Turkey Mountain from a distance. Each time a threat of development would emerge he would be in contact with friends here in Tulsa helping us to brain storm on the best ways to meet this challenge. Chris has been a long time friend to parks and wild spaces and his voice will be sorely missed.

Chris was the head of Baltimore’s Parks & Recreation department and was a noted and respected advocate for public space and outdoor recreation. He died recently of cancer.

To read more of this native Oklahoman’s life and legacy please visit his obituary in the Baltimore Sun

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TUWC: National Trails Designation

On the eve of National Trails Day, more good news came to Turkey Mountain.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of the Interior named Turkey Mountain’s Red, Yellow and Blue trails as part of the country’s National Recreational Trail System. Turkey Mountain was one of just six places to receive that designation.
“By designating these new National Trails, we recognize the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “Our world-class network of national trails provides easily accessible places to enjoy exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while also boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities in local communities across the country.”

According to a statement from the Interior Department, National Recreation Trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the Nation. The newly designated trails will receive a certificate of designation, a set of trail markers and a letter of congratulations from Secretary Jewell.

Achieving this designation was a combined effort from the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition’s grant writing team and the Tulsa River Parks Authority.

Aside from the recognition, the designation has other benefits for Turkey Mountain, including promotion, technical assistance, networking and access to funding. This will add to ongoing efforts by River Parks Authority and the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition to aid Turkey Mountain through education programs, trail maintenance work and clean-up days.

The news is the latest victory for Turkey Mountain. Last year, plans for an outlet mall on Turkey Mountain’s west side were abandoned thanks to widespread community opposition and an organized education effort on behalf of preserving green space. In April, voters approved a measure that purchased the land in question, with the purpose of folding it into River Parks’ inventory. And over the last few years, usage of the trails has grown as more people have learned about Turkey Mountain and what it has to offer. Turkey Mountain is already considered one of the country’s premier mountain biking trail systems, and is home to a number of trail running events every year. It’s also a popular site for hikers, geocachers and equestrians.

As for the trails that received the Interior Department’s designation, they offer a range of experiences for users. The Red Trail is a scenic 0.8-mile loop through wooded terrain and is considered one of the best trails for beginner hikers and runners to try. The Blue Trail, a 1.6-mile loop, climbs to near the top of Turkey Mountain, giving users a good dose of woodlands with a taste of elevation gain and a trip around a pond. The Yellow Trail, at 4.4 miles, climbs to the top of Turkey Mountain and traverses its ridge, while on its eastern flank offers some of the best views of the Arkansas River in all of Tulsa.

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KOTV – River Parks Adding Fencing Around Turkey Mountain To Stop Illegal Dumping

NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

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TUWC – Thoughts on Vision Tulsa

It was a little more than a year ago that Tulsans faced the prospect of losing a large chunk of woodlands at Turkey Mountain to commercial development.

Citizens spoke up and were heard by city leaders as well as the prospective developers, and the land in question – about 48 acres at 61st Street and U.S. 75 – was removed from any plan for a shopping center.

The future of the land was further secured by the generosity of two local private benefactors, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the QuikTrip Corporation.

The entities purchased the property with the intention of keeping the land undeveloped, but they also wished to serve as placeholders for the city of Tulsa.

Enter the Vision 2025 extension. The proposed renewal of the Vision 2025 sales tax includes more than $7 million for the land now being held by GKFF and QuikTrip. Should voters approve Vision 2025, some of the money generated by the sales tax extension would be used to pay back GKFF and QuikTrip. In turn, the land would be grafted into the existing Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area currently managed by the River Parks Authority.

City leaders wisely questioned commercial development of this acreage, and the developer correctly walked away. Public sentiment demanded it, as the overwhelming majority of Tulsans wished to see all of Turkey Mountain kept wild. Now the citizens have the opportunity to finish the work and vote yes on the Vision Tulsa extension on April 5.

The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition sees the Vision extension as a wise move for the city, its residents, and for securing the future of Turkey Mountain. For that reason, we urge voters to approve the proposal on April 5.


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Tulsa World: River Parks board OKs loan deal tied to Vision funding to expand Turkey Mountain lands

River Parks board OKs loan deal tied to Vision funding to expand Turkey Mountain lands

The River Parks Authority approved two measures on Thursday designed to make its plans to acquire more lands around Turkey Mountain more attractive to Vision 2025 renewal voters.

The board voted 4-0 to accept a $5.6 million non-recourse loan from QuikTrip Corporation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation to fund the accelerated purchase of lands “in the vicinity of Turkey Mountain.”

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TUWC: Turkey Mountain – Not Out of The Woods Yet!

Turkey Mountain: Not Out of The Woods Just Yet

With the stunning news that Simon Properties has abandoned the site on Turkey Mountain comes the sobering reality that there is now a 60 acre parcel of land with existing commercial zoning sitting wide open.

This is but round one. It was a hard fought battle, and people have taken notice how important Turkey Mountain is to the citizens of Tulsa. With that recognition, it is now time to step up fund-raising efforts to secure and protect the land from the threat of commercial development for future generations.

Large donations should be directed to Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition through its account at Tulsa Community Foundation: https://tulsacf.org

Direct donations to TUWC can be made at


TUWC also has a Go Fund Me campaign for any donation amount at: http://www.gofundme.com/tuwc2015

Please join the TUWC today in the movement to purchase this vital piece of urban wilderness.

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Oklahoma Sports and Fitness: May / June



Be Sure to Check Out Page 12 of the May / June issue of Oklahoma Sports and Fitness Magazine! 

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Tulsa World: City Hall Blog: Yes, there are supporters of mall near Turkey Mountain

City Hall Blog: Yes, there are supporters of mall near Turkey Mountain

The problem for supporters of the mall is that at the public meetings they have been vastly outnumbered by those who object to the project, and my reporting has reflected that.

So when I say there are plenty of people out there who want the mall, I’m not basing it on the public meetings. I’m basing it on my emails and voice mails.

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Tulsa Voice: Natural beauty Tulsans make the case to protect Turkey Mountain

Natural beauty
Tulsans make the case to protect Turkey Mountain

The resistance has reached a clear and eloquent critical mass, a decided ripening that’s accelerated over the past few months. Simon has twice requested additional time to prepare for its meeting with the Planning Commission, which is now expected to take place June 17.

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