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Located in eastern Oklahoma's Kiamichi Country, W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam sits just a few miles north of Spiro, Oklahoma. The dam is managed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers -- at almost 1,600 acres, the lock is a major water source on the Arkansas River. Years ago, the W.D. Mayo Lock occupied rough and rugged land identified as Native American territory. Today, still as beautiful as it once was, the Lock takes full advantage of its location just west of the Oklahoma-Arkansas border, providing hours of recreation and relaxation to those who frequent its shores.
Three areas have been developed along the W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam shoreline to accommodate boat ramps and lake access only. They are Arkoma Park, LeFlore Landing, and Wilson's Rock. No other facilities are available at these boat ramps.
Fishing is very popular in the area, and anglers can expect to catch channel catfish, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, striped bass, carp, buffalo, walleye, bream, and various sunfish. If hunting is your sport, the game species available include whitetail deer, squirrels, turkeys, migratory waterfowl, rabbits, quail, and mourning doves. Both fishing and hunting regulated by the state, so check before participating in either activity.
Whether visiting in the spring or fall, the foliage around the lake is beautiful with redbud, dogwood, and wild plum all blooming in abundance. The reds and yellows of blackjack, post oak, red oak, hickory, pecan, walnut, sycamore, and sumac are stunning in the fall. On the western edge of the Ozark Mountains, W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Oklahoma.
In addition to fishing and hunting, other activities at W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam include boating, camping, picnicking, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, and wildlife viewing. Pets are allowed in the areas around the lake making it the perfect place to take man's best friend.
Across the Arkansas River from Wilson's Rock, the famous Spiro Mounds, a Native American ceremonial center that existed between 700 A.D. And 1500 A.D., call out to visitors. Opened to commercial excavators in 1933, the mounds were mined and badly damaged. In recent years, the University of Oklahoma has led an archeological salvage program to save the mounds.
Towns near W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam 14 include Spiro, Fort Coffee, Paw Paw, and Fort Smith (Arkansas). Fort Coffee, located upstream from LeFlore Landing, is the site of an important military post during the removal of the Choctaw from the eastern United States. Established in 1834, the post was abandoned only four years later because of peaceful conditions in the area. The site was then selected by the Choctaw Council as Fort Coffee Academy for Boys.
Fort Smith, Arkansas will thrill any history lover visiting W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam. Old Fort Smith, now a National Historic Site, was established in 1817 as a military outpost. It is now the location of the Old Fort Museum and of "Hanging Judge" Isaac C. Parker's courtroom, where the court hanged 88 criminals and brought in almost 9,500 convictions. The courtroom has been restored along with a jail and the old gallows. When in Fort Smith, visit Miss Laura's Social Club (now the Fort Smith Visitor Center) to see a restored former bordello. You can tour the Victorian mansion, which has been listed as the first bordello on The National Register of Historic Places.
Vacation rentals and real estate are available at Fort Smith and other towns around the lock. Make W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam home base as you have fun on the water and visit the historic towns that ring the lake. Go in the fall and you just may see one of the best fall color changes in the South.
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