By Eddie Glenn, Press Staff Writer
Friday, July 8, 2005 11:18 AM CDT
Every year, more than 200,000 families get together for family reunions.
Not all - but at least some - of those families do their reuniting at Sequoyah State Park, just a few miles west of Hulbert.
According to Sterling Zearley, northeast regional manager for Oklahoma State Parks, those reunions should be a lot more enjoyable now that the park has undergone some pretty extensive renovations.
Last year, the park began building new sewage lagoons, and those should be finished later this fall.
But when choosing a place to camp or hold a family reunion, most folks probably don't put "quality of sewage lagoons" high on the list of priorities (although if they ever stayed at a park with unfit sewage lagoons, they might make it a higher priority).
Still, the renovations that make Sequoyah State Park such an ideal get-together spot have been - and are being made - in other areas of the park's infrastructure.
"We've got a new family reunion shelter that we just opened a couple of months ago," said Zearley. "It's 2,400 square feet, with 1,600 square feet enclosed with central heat and air."
The other 800 square feet is a screened-in porch. The shelter rents for $100, and has become one of the more popular attractions in the park.
"Even before we were finished building it, we had people wanting to rent it," said Zearley. "I told them it wasn't done, and said, 'We don't care; we want to rent it, anyway.'"
The new shelter, in the Cherokee Campground, has a rustic log cabin-style siding, which matches the other buildings that have been renovated - or are being renovated - in the park. Other building that have recently received the log cabin treatment include the "OK Corral" - a meeting room near Western Hills Lodge, in the park, and the pro shop at the park's golf course.
As time and money become available, other buildings, including the cabins near the lodge, will also be renovated. The lodge itself got a partial facelift this spring, with new wood on the exterior of about half of the main building; the rest will get a similar makeover after the summer season.
In addition to the lodge itself, there's also a "Family Reunion Complex," which is perfect for (you guessed it!) family reunions. It sleeps 42 people, and costs $750 per night.
But for those families who like to have more of a church camp feel to their gatherings, there's the group camp, on the north side of Paradise Cove.
This is the place to rent if your family tree includes a higher-than-usual number of branches and forks. It sleeps up to 154 people, with four in the camp kitchen building, and the rest in 10 A-frame cabins, one of which is handicap-accessible and has its own bathroom (the rest share a communal camp shower/bathroom building). Rental on the camp is $300 per night for up to 50 people, with an extra $5 per night for each additional person.
"We keep the camp pretty much rented out from Labor Day until school starts in August," said Zearley. "It's especially good during the holidays, so instead of everyone going over to one house, they can each get a cabin and do their own thing."
Perhaps one of the most unusual features of the park now is the RV rental service, which is actually operated by a company in Tulsa called, appropriately, Rent-a-RV.
This allows campers to live the much-envied life of a retiree - kicking back in a state park in a posh RV - without having to make the investment of actually purchasing one, and without having to feel guilty about holding up traffic by pulling one down the road behind a truck.
For as low as $49 per day (with a three-day minimum rental, a $49 delivery fee, and a $25 cleaning fee), or $343 per week, you, too, can be one of the RV set, enjoying a home away from home without having to actually buy the second home. Or, better yet, you can always rent one just to keep annoying relatives in.
Ten percent of Rent-a-RV profits are donated back to Sequoyah State Park.
For more information on shelter and group camp rentals at Sequoyah State Park, call 772-2046. For info on Rent-a-RV, visit www.rentarvnow.com
Renovations at park attract reunions including RV Rental
Sterling Zearley, northeast regional manager for Oklahoma State Parks, pulls out some of those pesky weeds at the new family reunion shelter at Sequoyah State Park.