Friday, December 30, 2005

Paving Paradise for Parking Lots

Tough Compromises Ahead for Southeastern Oklahoma

Martin Marietta Materials is proposing to use the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer to provide water for washing dust from rocks in a quarry currently under construction northwest of Tishomingo, Oklahoma. The company plans to use limestone it obtains for its 300-acre quarry to make concrete rock, asphalt rock and base.

Because the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer is the source for much of Southeastern Oklahoma’s water, many residents are worried about the sustainability of their vital water resource. Tourists currently visit SE Oklahoma from all over our state, Arkansas and Texas to enjoy the water resources in that area. With our current drought of historic scale here in Oklahoma, I can't help but fear for our already under-protected rivers. Sadly, jobs aren't exactly in surplus in that part of the state as well.


According The Oklahoman, two federal agencies that originally objected to the plan have come to an agreement with the firm, apparently removing a potential hurdle for approval by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWB). -- Ada News

It would appear that the company has managed to convince the current administration in Washington D.C. to compromise on their enviromental policies. One can only imagine how difficult that must have been.

The Ada News has the full article: Ada Evening News, Ada, Oklahoma--New controversy brews over aquifer

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Deep Fork River Suffers Through Drought

Dianne and Turtle
Dianne and Turtle,
originally uploaded by FreeWine.
You can see from the waterline on the shore in this picture that Deep Fork is dropping lower everyday.

Our state is so parched that the red water that usually flows in from the OKC area has dried up on the way. The river's water has become strangly clear.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Deer on the Deep Fork River

Deer on Deep Fork River
Deer on Deep Fork River,
originally uploaded by FreeWine.

On Monday, our part of Oklahoma was blessed with spring-like weather in the 60's. Acting quickly, Dianne and I foisted off our spawn on the nearest Grandparent and headed to the river for some emergency paddling. We have both been spending too many long hours at the keyboard and not enough in the sunshine.

We went back to the Deep Fork River bridges near Grayson and paddled the opposite direction as we went last time. I think we were going downstream, but there wasn't enough current to make much difference either way. Although it was a little breezy at times, for the most part it was perfect paddling weather. The sun was brilliant and there was quite a bit of wildlife out and about. We saw several whitetail deer, gray squirrels and a healthy number of turtles. One crazy carp nearly jumped in my kayak!

Just like before, we found the water relatively deep for the season, slow running and much more free of logjams and debris than many parts of the Deep Fork River. The two highway bridges near Grayson make a really nice place to slip the kayaks in the water for some excercise. We both felt renewed after only few hours of paddling in the sun. On this part of the Deep Fork River, there are miles of curvy waterways to paddle up and back on.

More pictures from this trip are available on my flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/freewine/

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Snow Tubing in OKC Through New Year!

Snow Tubing at Bricktown Ballpark

OKC is a bit of a drive for this family, but some events are just too cool to miss! Snow Tubing in Bricktown definately fits the bill.

We can't wait to go slipping down the towering slide of snow recently installed at SBC Bricktown Ballpark. Stretching from the second deck to second base, this snow-tubing run is the largest of its kind in the world...right in Bricktown! There is a smaller slide for kids, hot concessions and a snowman building area.

Bob Howard Snow Tubing at the Brick - Oklahoma City
Open Daily 12-10p
Christmas Eve 12-6, Christmas Day 4-10p
Adm. $8.50 for 1-1/2 hours
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Fighting The Calendar for Some Paddling Time

It looks like today will be the last day of nice weather in these parts for a least a week or more. Dianne and have been too busy printing, proofing and binding calendars to do any kayaking for the last couple weeks. If we could escape today, I'd love to paddle Deep Fork River near Grayson again. The last time we paddled it, we were impressed by the fairly deep water and lack of obstructions. I am very curious about what the conditions are like downstream of the put-in we used on our last trip.

The calendar building project has been very time consuming, but at least it has been educational. My wife Dianne creates websites and sells promotional items for Oklahoma area wineries. Her website is VineByDesign.com and this year she decided she wanted to introduce a new product - Oklahoma Winery Calendars. We have a real nice Xerox color printer, so we figured it wouldn't be too tough to just make them for ourselves. Things I learned about on this project include: how paper is categorized and priced, sprial comb book binding and more than I ever thought there was to learn about hole punching. It turned out to be harder than we thought, but I think the end product is quite nice.

The calendar we are selling is just loaded with Oklahoma special events. In addition to marking the US Holidays and Oklahoma wine events, we also included boat shows, state fairs, jazz festivals, rodeos and much more. Heck, what other calendar marks the date of the National Noodling Tournament? For those who sign up, we will also send out free updates later in the year for Oklahoma events that are still being planned.

We have made it 100% Oklahoma, now we are hoping to see it go sweeping over the plains.

When Dianne and I bought our kayaks, we expected to spend every weekend on the river. I guess everyone that buys a boat feels that way at first. Now that epic drought conditions and free enterprise have forced us to cut back on our peaceful paddling plans, I am left with not much to blog about. I think I may write an article about buying recreational kayaks in Oklahoma. We shopped around for ours and ended up buying two very similar kayaks from two different Oklahoma paddling gear shops. It might be interesting to compare the vendors and their wares.

VineByDesign.com - Promoting Oklahoma Wines & Specialty Items

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Leaders Looting Oklahoma's Most Scenic Rivers?

Are County Commisioners Looting Oklahoma River Resources?

Well, when the bad weather and job issues keep me off the rivers, I figure I can always post some news about the development of paddling resources in Oklahoma. Sadly, the last good news I found was for the improvements being made to the Tulsa Wave. This week, I only seem to find the other kind of news:

Mining Scenic Rivers in Oklahoma

Members of Trout Unlimited from Tulsa have recently made complaints to at least four state agencies and the U.S. Corps of Engineers about illegal gravel mining on the Illinois River. Now it looks like some of the mining may have been tracked back to Muskogee County Commissioner Ronnie Pevehouse.

Complaints that he allegedly removed gravel illegally from the Illinois River are without merit, said Muskogee County Commissioner Ronnie Pevehouse. The legal removal of gravel from private property adjacent to the river is saving county taxpayers $60,000 per year, Pevehouse said. - Muskogee Phoenix
Muskogee Phoenix - Commisioner accused of illegal gravel mining

Illegal Dams on Oklahoma's Scenic Rivers

Due to the recent damming of Barren Fork Creek in both Adair and Cherokee counties, and the discovery of illegal gravel mining in Delaware County on Flint Creek, Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Chairman Rick Stubblefield recently decided that something had to be done.

Oklahoma Scenic River supporters may be relieved to know that the commisioner has appointed a four-member Watershed Coordination and Management Committee to tackle illegal operations along the banks of the Illinois River.

Tahlequah Daily Press - Committee named to tackle illegal river operations

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ouachita River Park Benefit Whitewater Video

Kayaking T-Shirt and Whitewater Video To Support Ozark Area Paddling

The Corps of Engineers recently announced that the 404 permit was approved to construct the whitewater improvements for the planned Ouachita River Park. The Arkansas Canoe Club (ACC) still needs help to ensure it can be completed. Click the link for more information:
http://www.arkansascanoeclub.com/mb/viewtopic.php?t=756. A key funding source has been a local whitewater kayaking video produced by their members called: Arkayakansas.

The name maybe a little tricky, but the video is really a blast. It is well worth the money and for a great cause, I've watched it more times than Spike's Kayak Fishing video and that is a lot of replay! You see some of the coolest kayaking spots in the Natural State paddled vigorously to the mean sounds of electric guitars. No time for fishing on these trips, just sliding down one mountain stream after another and doing wild creek rodeo tricks. It made me want to buy a playboat. Now they have sweetened the deal. Check this out:


To celebrate the permit and continue the progress, the price for ARKAYAKANSAS has been reduced to $20.00 just in time for the holidays and they will even throw in a Ouachita River Park T-shirt! You can order your own copy of this rockin' whitewater kayak video produced by our neighbors in Arkansas here: http://www.arkansascanoeclub.com/video/order/


I think I'm going to buy another copy of ARKAYAKANSAS to give as a gift, so I can get one of those t-shirts...and to help out the ACC.

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