Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ancient Forest Near Tulsa Area Lake

This may be the year I address the flood of email requests I get for Tulsa area paddling spots. Other than a brief paddling trip to Lake Bixhoma, Dianne and I haven't tried much kayaking near Tulsa. Normally, we avoid paddling near metro areas, as the required permits and regulations can be a pain to chase down.

However, I recently learned that Sand Springs, Oklahoma is home to Keystone Lake and the eastern shoreline of Lake Keystone is home to the Keystone Ancient Forest. I personally did not know that Oklahoma offered hiking through a 1,300-acre old-growth forest.

Now that I know about the old-growth forest...I would like to see it for myself. The confluence of the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers is said to be visible from the high ground on the nature preserve...but you can't go there alone. To protect the park, hikes through the Keystone Ancient Forest are only allowed for groups of ten or more.

Since the lake looks like a good one for paddling, I've decided to move Keystone Lake up to the top of my Priority Paddling List. If only there were some group of local kayakers that I could team up with, maybe we could get a reservation to visit the Keystone Ancient Forest and paddle the lake on the same day.

Anyone out there ever checked out the old-growth forest on Keystone Lake? Can you paddle to it?


Jana G said...

Just found this post and if you haven't visited the forest yet, it is also open to everyone to come hike at will, the 2nd Sat of each month, which will be July 11 this month. While the lake is the western boundary of the preserve, there are no good spots to put in and paddle to the forest, plus you would have to bushwack a few hundred feet up to the trail which runs along the bluff top. But a hike in the morning, followed by a lake paddle might be a good day trip. Be glad to trade info with you. I'm a newbie kayaker and a KAF trail guide.

Anonymous said...

We live on Keystone and we paddle some and fish on Keystone but we prefer to take our trips east into Arkansas... mostly. I have not hiked out the "Ancient forest" but I bowhunt across the channel from it. This Crosstimbers region can be very dense and with the "Ice Storms" of the last couple of years I am sure it needs a good burn. You know with the amount of people that live around this area and control the natural forces of fire - "Protecting the Ancient Forest" - May actually be harming it. We have some beautiful Sunsets and Sunrises on this lake. Enjoy... Maybe I'll see you on the water... Bring some bait. 8~)