Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area Open for Season

By Monica Wood

The lakeside amenities at Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area opened for the season May 24 for Memorial Day Weekend. Water activities are open for the season and admission to the park is free. LETRA offers several amenities including a remodeled miniature golf course, walking and biking paths around the lake and six playgrounds and an archery range with 3D targets.

LETRA offers all the additions from last year, including playgrounds, archery range, beach front improvement, bicycles, the cabins and improvements to the miniature golf and the water slide and bikes. “So if you want to get in the great outdoors this is a great place to go,” said Brenda Spencer-Ragland, director of Family and MWR.

Spencer-Ragland went out to walk through the area before the season opening and said it was her best walkthrough ever. “The Country Store is stocked and ready and the office has a nice entrance with décor, rocks, and clean, smiling faces that are ready to serve,” she said. “The beach has sand, the park area is mowed, edged, clean and free of debris, the park is fully rented, and our cabins are booked every weekend until 26 July. The outdoor areas had Soldiers already out fishing, playing volleyball, folks were in the cabins – truly a great day and I could not be more proud of the hard work of the LETRA team.”

According to Spencer-Ragland, LETRA is rock solid for a great season. “The staff is on board and truly the park is in the best shape it has been in years,” she said. “The water is up and the boats are maintained and ready.  This will be a great year for our Soldiers and families.”

Archery range

The archery range features an elevated shooting platform and new stationary targets have been ordered to replace the bales of hay. “It is another way families can enjoy the outdoors and exercise together,” said Mark Houseman, LETRA manager. “It will also be useful for local schools teaching shooting sports and clubs who want to try archery. Bows are available for rent out of the country store.  Price ranges from $4-$20.  We also have 3D targets to shoot at.”

Watercraft rentals

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The price for watercraft rental ranges from $8 to $50 an hour and for miniature golf the cost is $4 per person. “We also have four bass boats and a pontoon boat available to rent,” said Houseman. “These are on a first come first serve basis. To rent these items, stop in at the Country Store.” The waterslide, beach with lifeguards, watercraft rentals and mini-golf, are open Wednesday-Friday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Country Store

The Country Store is available so our patrons wouldn’t have to leave the campground, said Houseman. “We are fully stocked and offer a wide variety of items.”

For more information on the Country Store, call (580) 442-5854.

Lakeside cabins

The 10 rustic wooden cabins on the west side of the park are available in three different sizes: there are four small cabins, which accommodate up to four people; three medium cabins which accommodate up to six people; and three large cabins which accommodate seven people.

Reservations can be made up to two months in advance by logging on to http://adv-travel.com/cabin-rentals/

The prices for the cabins are $60 to $80 per night with an additional $10 cost for civilians. The cabins come with all the amenities including all furnishings; heat and air; a TV and DVD player; fully-stocked kitchens with dishes and silverware; and linens and towels are provided.

“All ten cabins will be set aside for unit functions the second weekend of every month,” said Houseman. “We’re providing these cabins as quality of life. We have lots of people pitching tents in summer and the cabins provide another option for campers.”

According to Spencer-Ragland, there is a trend for units to go to off-site family retreats. “Our goal is to keep the promise of the Army Family Covenant by providing other options to build family wellness and resiliency that won’t put our units over their budget,” she said. “If there are units that want to take advantage of the free cabins for an off-site retreat, we don’t want them to be burdened with a cost. We are offering them a quality place these families can go for respite and for family wellness right here at Fort Sill.”

WiFi, Satellite TV available

Patrons renting a cabin or staying at the RV Park also have internet and satellite TV access. “We also offer WiFi internet and satellite for our RV and cabin patrons,” said Houseman.

New playground near RV Park

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“We already had five refurbished playgrounds onsite and a state-of-the-art playground near a group use site and RV park,” said Houseman. The RV Park has 45 pull-through spaces available featuring both 30- and 50-amp service and on-site waste disposal and fresh water. The RV Park also features coin-operated laundry and shower facilities. In the event of tornado or severe weather events, the restroom facilities and the Lodge basement serve as storm shelters.

Lakeside Lodge

LETRA also features a lakeside Lodge with a view of Mount Scott from the windows and deck, which is available for reservation in four and eight-hour blocks. No outside catering can be brought in but the Patriot Club or the Impact Zone offers on-site catering or customers can prepare food and bring it to the Lodge. “Many people reserve the Lodge for weddings and receptions because of the picturesque photo opportunities and serene setting,” said Houseman.

One of the scheduled events for LETRA this summer is the Co-Op Military Appreciation Family Fun Day on July 13. The event is open to all military and their families and Co-Op partners.

All price lists and additional information can be found at www.sillmwr.com or by calling (580) 442-5858.