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By Little Dixie CAA
The flowers are blooming, temperatures rising, and we have thankfully left all that ice and snow behind us. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of southeast Oklahomaâ€™s flora and fauna.
Little Dixie Community Action Agency operates contracts with the State of Oklahoma to staff and maintain four state parks in our area. In fact, Little Dixie plays a role in the operation of four out of the five state parks in our tri-county service area, preserving local jobs and promoting outdoor attractions at a time when state parks are closing in other parts of the state.
In Pushmataha County, Clayton Lake State Park is situated in a high valley of the Kiamichi Mountains. The lake offers fishing, swimming and low-wake boating. The grounds feature large and small cabins, plenty of RV and tent camping, a playground, hiking, picnic pavilions and clean restrooms. Scenic, tree-lined hills surround the park, and the tall pines keep the landscape green all year round.
Clayton Lake State Park is just five miles south of the town of Clayton on Highway 271, and the hunterâ€™s delights of Pushmataha and Honobia Wildlife Areas are both a short 10 minute drive from the park. For more information or park reservations, call (918) 569-7981.
Choctaw County has two state parks managed by Little Dixie CAA: Hugo Lake and Raymond Gary Lake. Both are located in the forested eastern section of Choctaw County.
Hugo Lake State Park is home to the annual Race Against Poverty 5K Walk/Run. Scenic paved roads crisscross the park, which is set on a sprawling bluff overlooking the lake on three sides. Large and small cabins are available, as well as a five bedroom Hospitality House which is perfect for big gatherings.
A paved nature trail is being installed this spring. A full service marina offers boat rentals, slip rentals and a store. There are numerous boat ramps, picnic areas, tent camp sites and lots of nature watching. Look for the (soon to be repaired) sign on US 70 just west of Sawyer. Call (580) 326-0303 for more information.
Just down the road is the hideaway of Raymond Gary Lake State Park in Fort Towson. Named for one of Oklahomaâ€™s most colorful governors, this park is situated on a small lake that is teeming with catfish, perch and even a few hardy bass. Small cabins and RV sites line the shore, with another RV park and tent camping on the hilltop above.
Raymond Gary Lake is known for its abundance of shade trees. There is a boat ramp, handicap-access fishing pier, and recently improved fishing docks all along the lakeshore. A trail behind the spillway leads to the only public access waterfall in Choctaw County. To reserve a cabin or campsite, call (580) 873-2307.
Finally, Little Dixie also manages three group camps at Beavers Bend Resort Park in McCurtain County. These are perfect for large church, school, family and corporate gatherings. Each camp can handle upwards of 200 people. Two of the camps are located on the Mountain Fork River, and they all have large kitchens and dining halls, multiple bunk houses, and access to amphitheaters and all the amenities of Beavers Bend. To reserve a Group Camp site, call (580) 326-3351.