Grand Lake key places
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2/17/13 at 6:01 AM
Grand Lake O' The Cherokees
Sixty-six miles from the Pensacola Dam to upper reaches fed by the Neosho, Spring and Elk Rivers, Grand Lake O' The Cherokees has 46,500 surface acres that lie 742 feet above sea level (at normal pool) and offers 1,300 miles of shoreline. The lake was created in 1940 with completion of the dam and hydroelectric project managed by the Grand River Dam Authority. It is the uppermost of a chain of popular Northeast Oklahoma lakes with Hudson and Fort Gibson lakes downstream before the Grand River joins the Arkansas River.
Wolf Creek Park and Boat Ramp
Recently redesigned and in the midst of a $2 million makeover, the old "16th Street Boat Ramp" is now the 20-plus acres of Wolf Creek Park and Boat Ramp, the launch site for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic (see driving directions from Tulsa and parking instructions on map page).
Pensacola is the first hydroelectric facility built in Oklahoma, a federal Depression-era project completed 1938-1940. The dam covers a 1-mile span between the communities of Langley and Disney. The dam has 21 floodgates on the main spillway and 21 on the east spillways. The six units at the dam have a combined generation capacity of approximately 120 megawatts, according to the Grand River Dam Authority. Public recreation areas at Disney offer lakeshore access, viewing and a boat ramp.
Twin Bridges State Park
The Twin Bridges area marks the confluence of the Neosho and Spring rivers, the lake's main feeder streams. The park, off U.S. 60, offers one of few access points to this more remote portion of the lake. Some experienced anglers say this area is a long shot during the time of the Classic, but still others say it can't be counted out completely.
Bernice State Park/ Horse Creek
The Oklahoma 85A Bridge at the community of Bernice spans the mouth of Horse Creek and is another potential lookout spot for shore-bound spectators with binoculars, especially from the fishing pier at the bridge. Bernice State Park also offers a public boat ramp. A public fishing pier near the bridge is another potential spot for spectators - or for those tempted to dip a line for crappie or catfish.
The U.S 59/Oklahoma 10 bridge over Honey Creek, just south of Grove, may be a spot for shore-bound spectators to try to catch a glimpse of anglers on the water. Honey Creek State Park (off the aptly named State Park Road) also has a public boat ramp and access to the water's edge for spectators who might be launching a boat.
A Grand Lake landmark, the high, arching Sailboat Bridge, on U.S. 59, is the unofficial dividing line between the "upper" and "main" or "middle" lake areas. It was one of 47 federally funded, Depression-era projects involved in the building of Pensacola Dam on the Neosho River to create the lake and provide hydroelectric power. Its 3,044-foot span was upgraded in 2000-2001 at a cost of $24.5 million. It is the state's second-longest and most expensive bridge.
Original Print Headline: Grand Lake: Key Places
Sailboat Bridge. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Twin Bridges State Park. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World