Find Your Park Oklahoma
I was inspired by Cotopaxi, to write about a park in my area. Cotopaxi is an outdoor company using love of adventure to fuel remedies to global poverty-which is something I love with all my heart.They donate a portion of every sale they make with their travel backpacks having the biggest impact.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of our country having a National Park Service, which is dedicated to the preservation and education surrounding sites across the country which have been protected. We went to Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park this past summer and all four of us are still reciting favorite sights, sounds and adventures from our trip. It was so easy to see why some people go back year after year.
In honor of the centennial celebration, The National Park Service has social media to find your park and created the hashtag #FindYourPark, an initiative to increase awareness and tourism in these areas. Our little family definitely accepted and embraced this challenge, as we stopped in over five different historical, natural and cultural spots this summer.
But living in Oklahoma doesn’t provide easy access to Yellowstone, Glacier or some other large National parks. While there are tons of areas in which to explore and to discover, I have to admit I was not that familiar with many of them in my own State.
There are five national recognized areas in Oklahoma in addition to the many that have been set aside by the State itself: the Washita battlefield in Cheyenne, Oklahoma, the Murrah Building memorial in downtown Oklahoma City and the historic Ft. Smith, which lies on the Oklahoma/Arkansas border. There are also the trail of tears and the Santa Fe trail, but those memorials are more recognized in other states.
The 5th is the Chickasaw Cultural Center, located in Sulphur. It is our favorite of the five, because our family has been there several times. About an hour from our house, we have spent several days hiking and exploring around this area. There are several great trails and the town of Sulphur itself is worth the experience.
We love walking over and underneath the bridge.
Sulphur is a historic town in Oklahoma, because thousands of people use to migrate there for the water. Believing that the water contained healing elements, bathing and drinking the water was common.
There are several springs that are around the area and tastings are free. The smell and shock to the senses is a great way to shock and entertain the kids. Their faces are usually hilarious and nobody in my group every votes that they want more than one sip!
There is water of every variety at the Cultural Center and only a small part of it is stinky! With waterfalls, swimming holes and places to bring a boat or canoe, there is always a sound of rushing water in Sulphur.
Swimming, camping, hiking, fishing, biking and wildlife viewing are only some of the actives that are available all year round. Hunting is also permitted, but only during certain seasons and with the proper permits.
There are always things going on at the Nature Center and Amphitheater. Before going, check out the website and coordinate your trip with a stargazing adventure or a ranger led hike looking for animals.
As a continuing celebration for 100 years protecting our National Parks, there are two more days this calendar year that will allow free admission to everyone at all National Parks. One of them is September 24, 2016 and the remaining and final day this year is Veterans Day, November 11, 2016. Be sure to check out the National Park Foundation on Facebook so you can plan other fee-free days for 2017 and for all the latest news and events in your area.
So where are you going to find your park? I’m always curating a list of places I want to go next, so tell me where you think I should add next.