Well, my husband got a new job, and we are moving from Florida (yes, Florida) to Oklahoma (yes Oklahoma- its a better job for my husband, and it is back home for him) We will miss Florida, but we have been reading about the neat paddle trips there are in Oklahoma. We will be in the Lawton area, which isn’t too far from the Gulf, so we still have that.
So I’m wanting those Okies out there to tell us some great paddling places and trips.
Also, I saw the posts concerning having to register your boat- including putting 3 inch letters on it?? Is this true!!
is a person who considers Lawton, OK close to the gulf
I haven’t been busted paddling unregistered Texian kayaks at Lake Murray or Lake Texoma. I couldn’t tell you about that. There are lots of big pretty lakes in OK with parks for access. You won’t be far from Possum Kingdom lake in Texas. I think you’ll find enough potential paddling destinations to stay busy exploring for a long time.
You might check out the DFW Paddlers Yahoo group
I am so sorry! Just kidding of course. I lived in Lawton two seperate times for a total of almost two years combined. I kept leaving but the Army kept sending me back. I didn’t paddle any while I was there so all I can do is commiserate on your relocation. There is a lot of good rock climbing there though! And we belonged to a great Church there (Dayspring Community Church).
There are a couple of nice places to go in the Ouchita’s but they’re very seasonal. The lakes, and Oklahoma brags it has more shoreline than any other state or the East coast and the Gulf combined, are fine for paddling but be prepared for the ‘winds come rushing down the plains’. The Illinois river is beautiful, but a bit crowded. You’ll fine great fun just over the border in Arkansas on the Mulberry; a little further gets you to the Buffalo River which is first rate, I don’t care who you are or where you come from. Take it just a bit north and you’ve got the Current, the Jacks Fork etc in Missouri.
You’ll be paddling different, but you’ll find a lot of wonderful paddling if you look around.
The Oklahoma laws on registering are as you’ve heard. Technically, the only thing allowed on the water without a license in Oklahoma is a sea plane (which we don’t see much of). In protest, I have only paddled in Arkansas and Missouri but I’m in Tulsa and they are much closer to me than to Lawton. I am going to register this year so I can get a few quick paddles in on the Arkansas and Verdigris this year without having to make a weekend of it.
read the registration carefully
in IL, non-motorized craft don’t have to display registration numbers. Just the IL sticker. But you have to read everything to figure that out. If you go by the application instructions, it looks like all boats need numbers.
I’m a transplant from elsewhere to Oklahoma as well. We’re up in Tulsa, and up here we mostly paddle the many lakes. The Illinois River, also in the Eastern part of the state is a nice river, but crowded except for maybe early spring or late fall.
Unfortunately, it’s true about the boat registration here, although I think you have a 6 month grace period. Believe it or not, you even have to register inner tubes for fishing or floating here. There are size regulations on the letters (not just 3" high, but also a minimum width), but we got the skinniest letters we could so that our registration #'s don’t take up the entire length of the boat! FYI - you need to take your boat with you to the tag agency so they can verify the vin number. (I didn’t know this, so I had to make 2 trips).
Good luck with your move!
Once your ‘legal’ let me know if you want to do any local trips. If you’re going to shoot down to the Illinois and want to shuttle rather than paying someone, we might be able to plan a trip together. It sounds like you mostly canoe rivers. My sister and I both kayak, and because more often I can get away alone, I paddle a lot on the local lakes (no shuttle required). Shell Lake just outside of Sand Springs is my favorite. It’s small, but quiet and picturesque. Often I see deer along the shore, as well as wintering bald eagles.
Maybe we’ll see you around!
I would very much be interested. You can e-mail me on my profile…probably be a month before I’ve got the ducks all lined up. BTW—I very much enjoyed your tome on coyotes a while back.