Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: March 1, 2012
Rendering of New Lake Murray State Park
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
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
"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
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