Tag Archives: Tulsa

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: City of Tulsa transfers property on Turkey Mountain to the River Parks Authority

The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition applauds today’s action by the city in regards to transferring its land on Turkey Mountain to the River Parks Authority.

This will ensure the long term health a viability of wild green space in Tulsa, along with the benefits that come along with it. Preserving that land is a major win for local conservation, and will go a long way toward giving Tulsans a healthy outlet to get outside and be active.

It also builds on the city’s ability to tap into Oklahoma’s outdoor recreation economy, one that provides $3.1 billion in wages and $663 million in state and local sales taxes every year. Tulsa has a unique opportunity to become a destination for outdoor recreation enthusiasts in Oklahoma and beyond and further diversify its economy.

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TUWC – Looking back on 2016

As another year draws to a close it is important to look back at what we have accomplished to better plan our goals for the new year. While we reflected the one thing that stuck with us was how much commitment Tulsa is showing to a renewed sense of community. A deep desire to be outdoors and a measurable value in what we have. Tulsa, again you leave us happy and speechless. Thank you.

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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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TUWC – Vision Tulsa Letter from President Tyler Hanes

Letter from TUWC President Tyler Hanes about Vision Tulsa Proposition 3
Letter from TUWC President Tyler Hanes about Vision Tulsa Proposition 3

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TUWC – Vision Tulsa Arkansas River Dam concerns addressed by Oklahoma Biologist

In search for answers on the Arkansas river dams included in the Vision Package we turned to experts for a better understanding. The Shovel Nosed Sturgeon, Paddle Fish, and Least Terns were some of our chief concerns.

Some of you may know Dave Lindo from Tulsa Kayak and Oklahoma Kayak, but did you also know he is a biologist as well? If you have ever spent much time with him outdoors you will notice he catches many subtle things happening that a casual nature observer may miss. This made him the perfect resource to turn to with this question.

When asked this is Daves response, “The current situation is feast or famine in regards to water in the river. Least Terns (endangered) make a living by nesting on the sand bars that get flooded. As part of the project, the federal government requires that like for like habitat be provided for any projects which involve their nesting grounds. Putting a stable water level in the river and creating nesting islands will give these critters a chance to incubate an egg for 21 days without getting flooded.”

Dave notes that as the city made cuts to the vision proposal he was surprised they left the in river side passages billed as a whitewater kayak channel. “The reason you see this still included, is because this will act like a fish passage channel for the sturgeon who need to migrate up the river past the low water dams. Currently, sturgeon and paddlefish, etc. get trapped in pools on the river when power generation water ceases. Additionally, the dams can raise and lower into the river bed, disappearing completely when needed for seasonal migrations or to stop the impoundment of silt (see current situation at Zink Dam).”
“Compared to the current situation created by the impoundment of water by Lake Keystone, I think this is a win for wildlife, recreation, and overall quality of life for Tulsans. The big picture that must be considered, is that improvements in the river will likely get Tulsa area residents outside, active, and using the river. This is turn should cause citizens to more actively involved and interested in water quality, and the preservation and protection of all the birds, fish, and critters that call the river home.” 
Dave Lindo, Owner of OKC Kayak & Tulsa Kayak Biologist • Conservationist Photo By Mark Edward Allen
Dave Lindo, Owner of OKC Kayak & Tulsa Kayak
Biologist • Conservationist
Photo By Mark Edward Allen

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TUWC : From Our Members – What to do if you have been bitten by a venomous snake.

Leslie's foot swollen from a copperhead bite.
Leslie’s foot swollen from a copperhead bite.

Venomous snakes are a fact of life for outdoor enthusiasts in Oklahoma. On a sunny day, snakes can often be found sunning themselves in the most inconvenient places. In Tulsa, we have seen them in the middle of paved trails and dirt trails alike. With the warmer winter and the onset spring, reptiles are emerging from hibernation earlier than usual. Rather than hiding inside until the temperature dips below freezing, we would like to provide these tips from one of our members who has first-hand knowledge of how to best care for a venomous bite.

Leslie, an avid trail runner and mountain biker, offers the following: “I was bitten by a copperhead on my foot almost two years ago up at Grand Lake…and got lucky. Thought I’d share a few things I learned from the experience in hopes to save time if someone were to be bitten.”

• Remain calm if bitten. Take deep breaths to control your heart rate. Pay attention to your body’s reaction the best you can.

• Do not put ice on the bite. This causes the venom to stay in one area and accelerates tissue deterioration.

• Don’t go all Crocodile Dundee and have someone suck the venom out. This is dangerous for both parties.

• Only major hospitals carry anti-venom. My options were St. Francis or go to Joplin. I was in Eucha and was taken by ambulance to Grove Integris Hospital (where they “couldn’t do anything for me”).

• Once at St. Francis, I learned that you have a 6-hour window to receive anti-venom (depending on snake/bite area). The anti-venom takes 1 hour to make. If you receive anti-venom, they will keep you in ICU for 3 days to monitor you, because anti-venom can be more dangerous than the bite itself and have long-lasting side effects.

By the time I made it to St. Francis, I was already on my fifth hour and thankfully was stable enough that I did not need anti-venom, just a night in the hospital and a painful/swollen leg for a couple of weeks.

Being bitten is a scary stressful situation, it is always best to know the information before you need it.

Remember it is always safest to assume every stick is a snake until proven otherwise.

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Tulsa World: Economic Impact study shows big possibilities for Vision’s river project

Economic Impact study shows big possibilities for Vision’s river project

“Relative to many such endeavors, we fear that the Tulsa community is ‘behind the curve’ in local amenities in comparison with many cities across the land,” the study states. “Conservative estimates of economic impacts reveal it would require only modest employment and income responses to justify the proposed plan for Tulsa riverfront development.”

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