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    Volunteers play a vital role in USACE recreation areas.

    Volunteers play a vital role in USACE recreation areas.

    Photo By Tiffany Natividad | Kevin James, Volunteer at Rocky Point Campgroung on Fort Gibson Lake. Assisting with...... read more read more



    Story by Tiffany Natividad 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

    The Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offers many volunteer opportunities in recreation and natural resources management. These volunteers play a vital role in the success of our parks and public use areas throughout the district.

    Most of the volunteers in the Tulsa district are required to provide 14 hrs. a week of volunteer duties but we often see them go above and beyond these hours. Duties include painting, chainsaw work, road patching, picking up trash, light equipment operation, etc. With more recreation areas moving to 100% reservable, many of the volunteers now perform gate attendant duties as well.

    “Volunteers have stepped up in a huge way to cover the gates, check ins/outs and camper questions when our gate attendants aren’t available” says Carly Lynch, lead park ranger at Eufaula Lake.

    Each lake office has a park ranger that serves as the volunteer coordinator and they are usually the first contact for a volunteer and are the ones to manage hours and volunteer selections.

    In the Eastern area of the district alone, there are as many as 100 full time volunteers, and many part timers, that assist in maintaining the recreation and public use areas of the lakes and rivers. These Include Fort Gibson Lake, Newt-Graham Pool, Chouteau Pool, Lake Tenkiller, Webbers Falls, Robert S. Kerr and Lake Eufaula. Most of the volunteers reside in the parks in exchange for their services, but there are also volunteer opportunities for members of the community to become involved with.

    “The number of volunteers that reside in our parks are pretty fluid over the course of a fiscal year, but we’ve had good success finding long-term people willing to stay year-round.” said Joseph Whitman, park ranger, and volunteer coordinator at Lake Eufala.

    Project offices find it important to recognize the volunteers and all the hard work and effort they put into helping recreation areas run as smooth as possible. On November 30th, 2018 Snake Creek Recreation area on Lake Tenkiller was hit by a tornado that devastated the park. Volunteers Bob and Phyllis Harp managed to seek cover in the concrete bathroom less than a minute before the tornado hit. It totaled Bob's new truck, rolled the Harp’s travel trailer and scattered their belongings everywhere.

    “That would have been enough to stop most people, but by the very next day they were already cleaning up their belongings and the park.” Said Jeremiah Holland, park ranger and volunteer coordinator at Lake Tenkiller. “They have been instrumental in the efforts to bring the park back to life”.

    The Harps have been volunteers since March of 2008 and received a 2020 Volunteer Excellence medallion in 2021 from the Corps Foundation for their years of enduring service.

    “Volunteers are a necessity to project operations, and I believe that we cannot thank them enough for serving to meet the needs of the public.” Said Andrew Arnold, park ranger and Volunteer Coordinator at Fort Gibson Lake.

    Gate or park attendants are another way to volunteer with the Corps. These positions are typically contracted for recreation seasons and serve as the first face customers see when entering the parks. This is a great opportunity for anyone that is interested in the outdoors and enjoys interacting with the public.

    “I chose to bid on this contract because I enjoy being outdoors on the lake and this was a good opportunity to do so.” said Ryan Williams age 30, Gate attendant at Walnut Creek recreation area on Keystone Lake. “It also works with my schedule since my construction work is done in the winter”.

    The Corps has a national information phone line, 1-800-VOL-TEER (800-865-8337) and email address ( for people who are interested in volunteering their time at Corps lakes and projects. Potential volunteers can also find volunteer opportunities posted on



    Date Taken: 10.27.2021
    Date Posted: 10.27.2021 16:33
    Story ID: 408155
    Location: TULSA, OK, US 

    Web Views: 159
    Downloads: 0