Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Chickasaw National Recreation Area is increasing recreational access in accordance with Oklahoma’s “Open Up and Recover Safely” plan. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning June 1, 2020, the following areas at Chickasaw National Recreation Area will become available:
- Buckhorn Campground Loop C (reservation only)
- Buckhorn Campground Loop D (first come, first served)
- The Point Campground Upper Loop (reservation only)
- The Point Campground Lower Loop (first come, first served)
- Buckhorn and Veterans Lake Picnic Pavilions will be reservable
Reservations can be made starting June 1, 2020 online at Recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
In addition, the following spaces continue to be available:
- Boat Launches
- Fishing docks
- Picnic Areas
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
- Buckhorn Campground Loops A and B
- Rock Creek Campground
- Guy Sandy Campground
- Cold Springs Campground
- Central Campground
- All swimming in Travertine Creek is prohibited. This includes the following:
- Little Niagara
- Bear Falls
- Garfield Falls
- Panther Falls
- East Perimeter Road, which includes the following areas:
- Travertine Nature Center, Parking, and Restrooms
- Little Niagara Parking and Restrooms
- Bear Falls Parking
- Garfield Falls Parking
- Panther Falls Parking and Vault Toilets
“We will be increasing access in a phased approach,” says park superintendent Bill Wright. “The health and well-being of the public and our employees is our top priority. We have some staffing issues that will need to be addressed before we can safely reopen and maintain additional areas.
“I cannot stress enough the need to continue to follow the CDC and Health Service guidelines for social distancing, maintaining smaller groups, and practicing good hygiene in order to continue to combat the spread of the virus.”
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Chickasaw National Recreation Area, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.