Yeah, believe it or not, we have some whitewater here in town. Some of you may remember the rodeos we had here on Labor Day weekends from '88-'91. (The rodeo died when we lost our guaranteed water release.)
Anyway, the local power company - Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) is spending time and money to fix up the wave site for boaters. They've worked through all the permitting processes to get this done. And that's been a minor miracle in and of itself. There are about seven different entities that have some say-so over the river in that area, so the permitting and approvals preocesses are complicated, to say the least. (BTW, "that river" is the Arkansas River, a little downstream of Royal Gorge).
We think this enhancement work is just a start that will give the wave site a lot of visibility, and open the door for a full-on whitewater park in the near future.
You can help! If you've ever boated here, or if there's a chance you would boat here some day, or if you just want to express your support and appreciation for a power utility that's kinda' "bustin' the mold" and making things better for boaters, just a short simple email to the power company's public relations director would be a BIG HELP! This will go a long way toward helping us get support for future phases of the WW park.
Please email your thanks, appreciation, and support of PSO's work to:
Mr. Stan Whiteford (email@example.com).
Here's the press release from a few days ago:
PSO Paving Way For Tulsa Wave Park
Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) is undertaking a series of improvements to the west bank of the Arkansas River near its Tulsa Power Station that will lead to the development of a white water recreation area to be called the Tulsa Wave Park. Improvements will include grading and stabilizing a 150-foot section of the bank and the construction of a path and dock for kayakers to safely enter the water.
Work on the project will begin Nov. 14 and will take approximately 30 days to complete.
With Oklahomas Centennial just a year away, we want to make this PSOs gift to Oklahomas Centennial celebration, said Bill McKamey, PSO vice president, External Affairs. Not only will this project provide recreation opportunities for white water enthusiasts, it will represent the first significant effort in Tulsa to promote west bank development and will lead the way for future efforts, such as those proposed in the Vision 2025 plan.
McKamey notes that local kayakers have been encouraging and working with PSO for more than a decade to help enhance that area so that it can be better utilized, and possibly even draw regional and national kayaking events.
People looking across from the east bank of the river may not know, but there is a roar of water along the west bank, just outside our Tulsa Power Station, said McKamey. The area is great because the waves are predictable, of a size the kayakers respect, and there are no obstacles to dodge.
Dave Reid, a longtime kayaker and supporter of the wave park, agrees, saying its a dream come true for area white water paddlers.
Weve worked for years to get this one-of-a-kind water feature developed and protected, said Reid. This unique sports feature will make Tulsa more attractive to outdoor oriented people, will be an excellent draw for people using the River Parks path and, hopefully, will become a destination spot for white water paddlers.
Although construction will involve bringing in trucks and other heavy equipment, plans are to keep the west bank pedestrian and bike trail open for the entire 30-day construction period. Warning signs with flashers will be posted on both ends of the project area.
Along with PSO, those who have been involved in the planning, permitting and development of the Tulsa Wave Park include: Tulsa kayakers, the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County Commissioners, River Parks Authority, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa County Levee Commission and Sherwood Construction.
PSO, a unit of American Electric Power, is an electric utility company serving approximately 511,000 customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma. Based in Tulsa, PSO has more than 4,000 megawatts of generating capacity.
PSOs parent company, American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), owns more than 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the US and is the nation´s largest electricity generator. AEP is also one of the nations largest electric utilities, with more than 5 million customers linked to AEPs 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid. AEP is based in Columbus, Ohio.
Long post - thanks for sticking with me!