New parking pass program to fund Oklahoma state parks

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Next week, the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department will launch a new parking pass program at 22 Oklahoma State Parks.

Beginning June 15, funds raised from the passes will allow the Oklahoma State Parks system to return park facilities and infrastructure to an acceptable standard and maintain them at that standard.

“It is deeply important to all of us to keep Oklahoma State Parks affordable while providing the best possible experience for our visitors,” said Jerry Winchester, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department. “The need to implement this parking pass program was not made lightly, but it was a necessary step to help slow the deferred maintenance trend. We have made great progress in streamlining processes and reducing costs, but we have to also increase our resources in order for our state parks to be of the quality that Oklahomans expect and deserve.

“Improving the parks will also better position us to attract visitors from outside the state, which will bring dollars into the communities surrounding the parks.”

The passes will start at $10 for a one-day pass for a single vehicle. Vehicles with an Oklahoma or Oklahoma tribal license plate will receive a 20 percent discount, making their pass just $8 per vehicle for a single day.

Oklahoma residents age 62 and older and their spouses will receive a 100% discount on the pass. Honorably discharged veterans will also receive a 100% discount, and individuals certified by state or federal law as totally disabled and their spouses will receive a 50% discount. Discounts cannot be combined, and individuals’ eligibility must be verified by park staff.

Three-day, one-week and annual passes will also be available. The annual pass will work for all 22 parks. Its cost will be $75, with a discount rate of $60 available for vehicles with Oklahoma or Oklahoma tribal license plates. Buses will be assessed a $25 per day fee regardless of license plate origin.

Free parking for one vehicle will be included in lodging and camping reservations at each park. State park golf courses and some concessionaire areas will be exempt from the parking fee, and some restaurants and other concessionaires may offer parking validation.

“Our park staff have been making do for many years without adequate funding,” said Oklahoma State Parks Director Kris Marek. “We anticipate that this program will provide the resources they need to make our parks the best they can be. We are excited about the improvements this program will provide and look forward to showing Oklahomans some of what we have in store for them in the coming months.”

Oklahoma State Parks has already begun projects associated with the new park improvement effort, including new or improved restaurant facilities at five parks, the acquisition and improvement of additional campsites at Little Sahara State Park, the acquisition of cabins at Fort Cobb State Park, paving improvements at several parks and the improvement and replacement of restroom facilities system-wide.

Guests will have several ways to pay for parking, including:

  • In advance online through a link from TravelOK.com.
  • Upon arrival via any smartphone by texting PARK to 504504. Guests will be texted a link to make contactless payment via Apple Pay, Google Pay or any debit/credit card. For more information on text to pay, visit premiumparking.com/text-pay.
  • Through the Premium Parking app, which is available as a free download for iPhone and Android devices. To get the app, visit premiumparking.com/mobile-parking.
  • Via pay machines at park offices and at other locations around the participating parks. Machines will take credit/debit cards and cash but do not give change. Guests will need to enter their license plate number.

Full list of state parks participating in the parking pass program

  • Arrowhead Area at Lake Eufaula State Park
  • Beavers Bend State Park
  • Boiling Springs State Park
  • Cherokee Landing State Park
  • Fort Cobb State Park
  • Foss State Park
  • Honey Creek Area at Grand Lake State Park
  • Great Plains State Park
  • Great Salt Plains State Park
  • Greenleaf State Park
  • Keystone State Park
  • Lake Eufaula State Park
  • Lake Murray State Park
  • Lake Texoma State Park
  • Lake Thunderbird State Park
  • Lake Wister State Park
  • Natural Falls State Park
  • Osage Hills State Park
  • Robbers Cave State Park
  • Sequoyah State Park
  • Tenkiller State Park
  • Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park

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