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Chickasaw National Recreation Area

small state map showing location

Sulphur, Oklahoma

JPG -- Picture of Buffalo Spring

Springs, streams, and lakes--whatever its form, water has always been the attraction at Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Freshwater springs attract a variety of wildlife. Mineral springs were once sought for medicinal qualities. Travertine Creek and Rock Creek beckon waders and swimmers. Veterans Lake calls to fishermen to test their skills. Lake of the Arbuckles, the park's dominant features, provides excellent motorboating, skiing, sailing, fishing, and swimming. Relax in the coolness of a shaded stream or take a dip in a swimming hole. The springs are formed when water passed through underground rock formations. Rock layers form a canoe-shaped structure called a syncline. Water enters the high point of this formation and travels downhill. The water is then forced upward through fissures in the rock layers. Some rock layers contain sulphur and bromine; water coming through these layers collects the minerals and becomes mineral water. Water passing through rock layers that do not contain these minerals remains fresh.

JPG -- Picture of Travertine Creek

Archeologists believe that this area may have been inhabited for as long as 7,000 years. The ancient people called this place "the Peaceful Valley of Rippling Waters." They believed in the healing power of the strong-smelling mineral water. The Caddos, Comanches, and Choctaws came later for the refreshing liquid. In 1855, the lands became part of the Chickasaw Nation.

JPG -- Picture of Bromide Spring Pavilion

White pioneers gradually drifted into the Chickasaw Nation and built a community in the late 1800's. A town formed around what is now Pavilion Springs and was named Sulphur. Fearing the springs might suffer form uncontrolled use, the Chickasaw Nation agreed with the Federal Government to create a national park. In 1902, 640 acres were transferred to the United States and given the name of Sulphur Springs Reservation. In 1906, the area was renamed Platt National Park in honor of Sen. Orville Hitchcock Platt. During the 1930's, the Civilian Conservation Corps built pavilions and roads, laid out trails, engineered waterfalls, and planted half a million trees and shrubs. In 1976 Platt National Park was combined with Arbuckle Recreation Area and additional lands to create a new national recreation area in honor of the land's longtime inhabitants: the Chickasaws.

This resource is based on the following source:
National Park Service.  1996.  Chickasaw official map and guide.  Southwest 
     Parks and Monuments Association.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
National Park Service.  1996.  Chickasaw official map and guide.  Southwest 
     Parks and Monuments Association.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     (Version 22MAY98).

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