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Oklahoma state parks need nearly $350 million in maintenance and repairs, study says

Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve
Laci Schwoegler
Oklahoma Tourism
Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department predicts $350 million is needed to repair capital infrastructure to state parks, according to a recent study.

The study also found the infrastructure for tourists to enjoy state parks in Oklahoma, like cabins, campgrounds and restrooms, are in need of major repair.

The study was organized by Rep. Tammy Townley (R-Ardmore). Townley said recreation and tourism is the state’s third-largest economic driver.

"It is literally a $10 billion industry,” she said. “We have got to do some things to make it viable.”

Townley said the state could invest more in park maintenance.

“We've got multiple places within our state system that are truly just flat-out dilapidated. They need water wells. We want our cabins to be the best.”

Black Mesa is one park she pointed out that needs repair on wells. “They don’t have water wells to support the park,” she said. “If we don't do something very, very soon, we are going to have to shut that park.”

Townley said $350 million could be spread throughout 8–10 years. According to the study, immediate funding of $50 million could allow the department to address critical maintenance needs over the next year.

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Britny Cordera was StateImpact Oklahoma's environment and science reporter from July 2023 to April 2024.
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