David Craigie

Photo provided by Les Cummings 

Captain David Craigie aboard the Incipient during the 2014 Hiram Douglas Annual Regatta. 

Lake Thunderbird continues to serve the metro as a major water source as well as a spot to relax and enjoy nature.

Originally constructed in the early and mid-1960s, Lake Thunderbird’s main purpose was to provide water to nearby communities such as, Del City, Midwest City and Norman. In addition, the lake offers numerous recreational activities.

Lake Lt. Steven Hoetscher, a 15 year veteran of the lake, said the park has a lot to offer locals as well as tourists.

“There is RV and tent camping on both sides of the lake,” Hoetscher said. “We have over 200 RV sites, and some include full-hook ups with electric, water and sewer. The park has bike trails on the South side of the lake and nature trails on the North side.”

The horse stables at the park were closed several years ago, but the area was converted to equine trails.

“There are equine trails on the South side of the lake for individuals who bring their own horse,” Hoetscher said.

Stargazing is a common activity people utilize at the lake.

“We get a fair amount of people come out for celestial events,” said Thunderbird Park Ranger Casey Fox. “They come out and photograph, observe through their telescope, or use the naked eye to observe space.”

In addition, the park offers many areas for groups and organizations to meet.

The Thunderbird Sailing Club is one group who appreciates what the lake offers.

Keith Campbell, commodore of the sailing club, said the park and the club collaborated to develop a state of the art boathouse to serve other groups including, the OU Sailing Club, Norman Sail and Power Squadron.

According to Campbell, while on the lake, people have the ability to see the good side of Oklahoma winds.

“In Oklahoma, you have strong winds throughout the year, which is good for sailing,” Campbell said.

Campbell said nature is something else that is special about the lake.

“It’s a beautiful location,” Campbell said. “The area surrounding the lake is very green and surrounded by trees. It’s a great venue in and of itself.”

Campbell encourages anyone who enjoys sailing or is interested in learning more about it, visit the Thunderbird Sailing Club's website http://www.thunderbirdsailingclub.org/.

The lake offers several amenities including: archery, biking, boating, canoeing/rafting/kayaking, fishing, hiking, hunting, watchable wildlife and waterskiing.

In addition, the lake is home to over 450 different kinds of birds including the scissor-tailed flycatcher and the rare whooping crane.

Lake Thunderbird acts as the only lake in the metro where people can come and swim.

For people who enjoy camping, the lake offers: RV camping for $20-28 per night and tent camping for$12-17 per night. The lake also offers parking at the Little Axe Campground for $5 per vehicle from 6am-11pm.

Jacob McGuire



Follow me at @jmcguireNT

Jacob McGuire is the Crime and Courts reporter for The Norman Transcript. McGuire is currently pursuing his MPA at the University of Oklahoma.

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