Oklahoma / Arkansas / TX Paddling????


I have to move this summer to Lawton, OK. Being an avid paddler, this was not my first choices of places to move. I am wondering if anyone can give me some advice on locations to paddle in that region. I am looking mostly for rivers to canoe, but also am an avid whitewater kayaker and sea kayaker.

I imagine there are decent rivers to paddle in eastern Oklahoma, and certainly a lot in western Arkansas. I know the Buffalo River is a mecca destination and only about 5 hours from Lawton. Also imagine there is good whitewater in the Ozarks, but would imagine most of the rivers are rain dependent and not sure if there are scheduled dam releases.

For sea kayaking / surfing I will obviously need to drive pretty far. I have heard South Padre Island, TX is a good destination. Not sure if there are any good sized lakes that might offer some good conditions when the wind kicks up enough (which it certainly does in that area of the country)

Any canoe or kayak clubs or groups in that area?

Thanks for your help


Lots of WW in Arkansas, much of it within five hours of Lawton. The Cossatot is a solid WW river when it runs. The Little Missouri in the same area also provides some challenging fun WW when it runs, especially between Albert Pike campground and HWY 84. In the Ozarks there are some spectacular creeks and rivers ranging from flatwater to very challenging. The Buffalo is indeed the crown jewel and offers Class I to III+ depending on the level and the reach, and her tributaries (specifically Richland Creek) provide some very challenging WW in a rugged and beautiful setting. There’s the Mulberry, Big Piney, Illinois Bayou, Frog Bayou (don’t know why they’re called bayous) and many others in northwest Arkansas that you need to enjoy. Those are by no means the only WW runs in the state. There’s also a brand new WW play park on the Illinois River in Siloam Springs in NW Arkansas just across the Okie/Arkie border. In Oklahoma there’s the Mountain Fork and a big play wave called Wister Wave on the Poteau. I believe there are also plans to build a WW park in Oklahoma City but I don’t know the status of that. As for clubs, the Arkansas Canoe Club has an Oklahoma chapter and two Texas chapters. Super folks. Here’s a link. http://www.arkansascanoeclub.com/page-464168 Check the message board for trips and meetups. BTW, my crazy uncle lives in Lawton. Good luck with the move!

Ft Sill vs Retirement?
I’d have taken retirement. Sorry Matt.

Take a hop up to Elmendorf. I’ll get you out on the water

Personally I think that the Army is trying to get me to choose to retire–an easy means of downsizing the force. Most people probably don’t realize that the Army has to down-size by tens of thousands over the next few years…because we supposedly will not fight the same kind of wars in the future and therefore don’t really need the Army. Interesting theory. Lets see how that works out.

Fort Sill was my 26th choice out of about 32. Nice, huh? Despite the fact that I was the best qualified guy in the entire Army for my top choices–really.

I think it is a method of forced attrition, but I don’t think it is the right way to go about it by any means.

Fort Sill, OK…Couldn’t get much more landlocked than that, which is why it was my 26th choice out of 32 positions.

Oh well. I will make the most of it.


Glory Road
I seem to recall that Heinlein in Glory Road suggested the the Army Personnel Dept. TO consisted of the Dirty Tricks Dept (DTD)and the Fairy Godmother dept(FGD). DTD was well funded and heavily staffed. FGD consisted of one elderly GS4 who would occasionally look up from her knitting and do something nice.

Has “Southwest Paddler” been mentioned?

Includes rivers in TX, AR, OK, etc.