No permanent closings for Foss Park
Contrary to rumors, Foss State Park still is not scheduled for closure.
Quoting Bruce Divis, regional manager for the Western Division of State Parks, the office of State Rep. Todd Russ (R-Cordell) issued a press release Wednesday confirming that the only closure issues stemmed from the normal reductions done every year as the high-use season comes to an end.
“These are done not only for winterization purposes but also to achieve economies of scale as we have fewer employees during the shoulder and winter seasons,” said the release.
It said the park’s marina operates as a lease concession with a private business and is required to be open Memorial Day through Labor Day. “They may choose to remain open beyond those dates, potentially with reduced hours,” the release said.
The marina owner has been trying to sell it for the past four years and during the past summer requested permission to reduce its hours of operation.
“We did not agree to that,” said the release, “but did allow them to be closed one day per week, which appears to be Mondays per their listing on TravelOK.com. . . . The marina has been having issues with inspections lately but has been addressing the items identified.”
Continuing, the release said various campgrounds throughout the state park system are subject to seasonal closures for winterization and to conserve resources and better align the operation and maintenance of facilities with reduced staffing. It listed this year’s fall-and-winter schedule for Foss State Park as follows:
• Cabins will be available year-round.
• Cottonwood and Cedar Point campgrounds and bathrooms will remain open year-round as well.
• Boat ramps will remain open at Cedar Point, Mouse Creek, Buffalo Bend, Cutberth and Sandy Beach.
• Cutberth and Sandy Beach campgrounds will be closed from Oct. 29, 2018, until March 7, 2019. There will be no electri-city or water during that period, and the restrooms will be closed and winterized.
• Mouse Creek campground will be closed from Oct. 29, 2018, until April 5, 2019. Again, there will be no electricity or water, and the restrooms will be closed and winterized.
• Buffalo Bend campground will be closed and gated from Sept. 10, 2018, until May 8, 2019. Restrooms will be closed and winterized during that period.
The release pointed out that Buffalo Bend, the first campground to close for the season, is the furthest away and the most isolated. It of course closed Monday.
Kim Caplinger, director of Public Policy & Research for the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, prepared the release for Representative Russ. Her information came from Divis.
Russ said he too had reached out to the Tourism Department and this was the information provided. His office had received a call from a constituent who evidently had heard that the state was closing Foss Park permanently. Ms. Caplinger indicated other legislators had been hearing similar rumors.
Of course, rumors were rampant about Foss possibly being closed in the spring of 2017 when the Oklahoma Legislature was running short of funds while preparing the 2018 state budget. However, no closings of the entire park ever occurred.