Turner Falls back open after flood damage

By: Alex Belser Email
By: Alex Belser Email

DAVIS, OK - Four months ago, one of Oklahoma's few waterfalls suddenly flooded the park, forcing park officials to shut it down. Now Turner Falls is back open to visitors just in time for spring break.

A heavy rainfall on Nov. 6 sent the creek below the falls bubbling over its banks, washing away paths and two footbridges, park manager Tom Graham said.

"We received ten inches of rain in less than five hours and it flooded the creek," Graham said. "It brought the level of the creek eight feet above normal."

Following the flood, Davis council members approved up to $1 million in repairs. Last week, the park reopened in time for some enjoying a spring vacation.

"We heard about the flood," said Michael Lamebull of El Reno, OK. "I guess it tore the place up pretty good."

The falls remain strong after rain this week, which is a big change from last summer when the drought shrunk them.

"Last year it actually just had two or three trickles really," said Ardmore resident Jason Girard. "It's about ten or 20-fold what it was."

Now park officials are hoping for some sun so they can resume repairs in April, and wrap up before summer visitors arrive.

"We need several days of dry weather before we can start rebuilding the roads and the parking lot," Graham said.

"Ever since I showed up it's been raining, but it is really impressive," said Denise Pfenninger of Lancaster, PA.

The park will remain open while the rest of the repairs are finished, Graham said. It is normally open year round.

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