Link to main pageLink to SenatorsLink to LegislationLink to ScheduleLink to CommitteesLink to PublicationsLink to NewsLink to Staff

Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: March 1, 2012

Rendering of New Lake Murray State Park Lodge

Senate to consider bill to build lodge at Lake Murray State Park

Lake Murray State Park could soon be getting a new lodge thanks to legislation filed by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Pat Ownbey. Senate Bill 1913, which was approved by the Senate Rules Committee earlier this week, would authorize the Department of Tourism to utilize $15 million from the State Park Trust Fund to build the new lodge.

"I'm excited to be able to offer this legislation. A new lodge will make Lake Murray the crown jewel of Oklahoma state parks," said Simpson, R-Ardmore. "With its great location on the I-35 corridor, Lake Murray will become a primary stopping off point for tourists and a prime destination for vacationers. The best part is that we will be able to build the new lodge without creating any new debt and it will ultimately help bring new revenues to the area."

Simpson explained that the State of Oklahoma owns all 12,496 acres of the historic property including the water and mineral rights. Royalty payments to the State Park Trust Fund are used for capital improvements to Oklahoma state parks. Over $15 million of the trust fund came from royalty payments at Lake Murray. Those funds will be used to fund the construction of the lodge.

SB 1913 is supported by Gov. Mary Fallin who pointed out that the state operates 41 state park properties, but only owns 14 of the parks. Lake Murray State Park is bigger than all the other state-owned parks combined.

"Lake Murray has no equal in the state park system. As many have said, it is Oklahoma's Yellowstone," said Gov. Fallin. "For this reason and several others, I support using the park trust funds to build a new lodge at Lake Murray. This is an exciting development for Ardmore and the entire south central part of the state."

Rep. Pat Ownbey is the principal House author of SB 1913, while Rep. Tommy Hardin is co-authoring the legislation.

"This beautiful recreational area is a prime destination spot for campers and those that enjoy lake activities. Lake Murray draws a majority of its visitors from the Dallas/Fort Worth, Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas as well as guests from as far away as Houston and Shreveport," said Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore. "Building this new lodge will keep those tourists returning year after year as well as attract people from other parts of the state and country. I’m thrilled to be a part of this great project that will have such a tremendous financial impact on our state, and without using a single taxpayer dollar.”

Under the proposed plan, the existing lodge will remain in operation while the new lodge is constructed preventing a situation like that at Lake Texoma.

"We learned a hard lesson from Point Vista at Lake Texoma where private ownership of that lodge has led to multiple delays in that project and loss of thousands in tourism dollars," said Rep. Hardin, R-Madill. "This is a wonderful plan and one that will ensure that Love and Carter Counties don't suffer like Marshall County has throughout this ordeal. I'm excited about this new opportunity at Lake Murray and look forward to helping get this legislation to the Governor's desk as quickly as possible."

The Ardmore Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the effort to build a new lodge saying it will greatly benefit the local economy.

"An average of over 13,000 vacationers visit Lake Murray each year, and those visitors contribute $1.4 million to the local economy," said Wes Stuckey, Chamber President and CEO. "Because of the deteriorating condition of the lodge at Lake Murray, occupancy has been steadily declining in recent years. A new lodge coupled with a fresh marketing strategy will bring new visitors to Lake Murray."

For more information contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607
Rep. Ownbey: (405) 557-7326
Rep. Hardin: (405) 557-7383

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

March Press Releases | Press Releases