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Spanning 105,000 acres, Eufaula Lake covers much of McIntosh and Pittsburg Counties in eastern Oklahoma. This "Gentle Giant" is the largest lake in surface acres in the state and spans both the Green Country and Kiamichi Country tourism regions of Oklahoma.
Eufaula Lake shares the name of the nearby town Eufaula, which was named for a Creek Indian village. In the 1800s Indians occupied much of the land where Lake Eufaula now sits, and present-day visitors can learn about the area's Indian history at the Creek Indian Council House and Museum in nearby Okmulgee. The region also hosted Civil War battles in the 1860s.
Construction of the Walter F. George Dam across the Canadian River (the largest tributary of the Arkansas River) began in 1956 and was completed in 1964, creating Eufaula Lake. The dam was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, water supply, hydropower, and recreation.
There are many opportunities for recreation on Lake Eufaula's waters and shoreline. Certain recreational activities may be more or less feasible depending on which part of the lake you visit. Eufaula is so large that its characteristics can vary greatly from one area to another. The shoreline has rocky cliffs in some spots and sandy beaches in others. The water depth and clarity are also varied, with reddish soil and water in the northern part, and clear blue water to the south. Eufaula Lake is considered by many to be one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country. Many fishing tournaments are held on the lake, which is populated with largemouth bass, sandbass, catfish and crappie. There are two state parks bordering Eufaula. Lake Eufaula State Park (formerly Fountainhead State Park) in Checotah, OK has 235 campsites, indoor and outdoor fishing, hiking trails, and a beach. There is also a marina, a restaurant and a gift shop. Arrowhead State Park in Canadian, OK has a group camp facility, 214 campsites, equestrian trails and stables, playgrounds and a miniature golf course. Each park has an 18-hole golf course and a pro shop.
Eufaula Lake has experienced limited but slowly growing development. There are very few retailers along or even immediately around the lake. Visitors and residents may need to travel into the town of Eufaula for certain supplies. Eufaula is also great place to visit when taking a break from the lake, as much of its downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The limited development at Lake Eufaula may not appeal to fast-paced tourists, but with over 50% of the lake's shoreline protected from development, lovers of nature and solitude have lots of room to escape and explore.
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