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Keystone Lake is an impressive 26,000-acre recreational gem located in north-central Oklahoma, just 15 miles west of Tulsa. Natural beauty surrounds the diverse 330-mile shoreline with sandstone bluffs, sandy beaches, steep hills of oak, hickory and cedar, and rolling sandstone hills covered with scrub oak, grassland, and plum thicket. Although not the largest lake in Oklahoma, Keystone Lake is brimming with opportunities for outdoor fun. Numerous recreation areas with boat ramps, beaches, marinas, trails, and camping facilities provide public access to this aquatic playground.
Construction of Keystone Lake was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1950. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the Keystone Dam across the Arkansas River in 1957; the dam was placed in operation in 1964. The Cimarron River also flows into Keystone Lake. The reservoir was named for the community of Keystone, now under lake waters, which sat at the junction of the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers. The lake's 26,000 acres reach into five Oklahoma Counties: Osage, Pawnee, Creek, Tulsa, and Payne. Keystone Lake fulfills numerous purposes, including flood control, hydroelectric power production, and water supply. Although there is no private lakefront residential development on federal and state-owned lands, extensive development surrounding public lands ranges from cabins to upscale homes and condos.
Keystone Lake serves up catches of striped bass, sand bass, black bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish to avid anglers. Fishermen enjoy the scenic, diverse topography of the lake's shoreline as they await the tug of the line and the thrill of reeling in the catch of the day. Three marinas and numerous boat ramps scattered around the shoreline provide convenient lake access to all water enthusiasts--fishermen, boaters, and water skiers. Marinas provide boat rentals for visitors who don't bring their own boats.
Keystone Lake provides a variety of parks and recreation areas for outdoor enjoyment, including 11 operated by the Corps of Engineers and 3 state parks. Keystone State Park is located at the south side of the dam; Walnut Creek State Park is on the northern shores of the lake; Feyodi Creek State Park is a small park located on the northwestern portion of the lake. The parks provide primitive camping, modern camping with electricity, and RV sites. For visitors who prefer a roof over their heads, Keystone State Park also provides 22 lakeview cabins with fireplaces and satellite television. Horse lovers will appreciate the equestrian campground at Walnut Creek State Park. The 15-mile Sand Plum Trail is a multi-use trail for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Oklahoma provide thousands of acres of land for public hunting. Game species include white-tailed deer, turkey, rabbit, squirrel, and quail. Due to Keystone Lake's diverse topography, bird watching is always a rewarding experience. The Tulsa Audubon Society provides a guide by lake area and season to assist both novice and seasoned birders.
Tulsa offers up big-city fun, about 30 minutes from Keystone Lake. Popular attractions include the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, the Philbrook Museum of Art, a 78-acre zoo, the Performing Arts Center, and the Discoveryland outdoor theater. So, pack your bags and set your GPS for Keystone Lake to enjoy the best of both worlds.
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