Cottonwood Point campground at Marion Reservoir has been closed to the public so construction can begin on the first phase of a $7.9 million expansion project.
“It’s going to be inaccessible for quite awhile,” Park Ranger Kyle Manwaring said.
The immediate priority is construction of a new gatehouse that will provide controlled access and increased security to both existing and expansion areas of Cottonwood Point, said Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public affairs specialist Nate Goodien.
“The phase that’s going on right now is getting the entrance and the gate shack constructed, and also realigning the roads to make it more centrally-aligned,” Goodien said. “That way it’ll help with the flow coming in and out of the park.”
Goodien estimated the existing campground will re-open April 1, but could not give a date when construction of new campsites, shower facilities, and infrastructure improvements will be completed.
“Right now the schedule is still pending, so there is not a set date for construction to be completed,” Goodien said.
Once the park is re-opened, construction will not interfere with use of existing camp sites. They will be available only on a first-come, first-served basis during construction, Manwaring said.
“We’re not sure when we’ll be opening up some sites, so we’re going to leave the reservation system off,” Manwaring said. “The plan is to leave it off for the whole summer.”
The expansion plan was introduced to the public in 2009, but it has taken this long to finalize plans and obtain permits, Goodien said.
“It’s kind of been an ongoing project,” Goodien said. “Even though there hasn’t been physically any work done, there’s been some resolving of some design issues to get the plans approved.
“They’ve secured all the permits they need. We’ve given the contractors notice to proceed for the gatehouse and roads,” Goodien said.
American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds will pay for the gatehouse, road work, utility installation, and the addition of restroom/shower facilities that are part of the project’s first phase.
Phase two includes campsite construction and development of a beach for the new campground.
“Once it’s completed, it should enhance their experience and have some nice benefits for the users coming out,” Goodien said.