How Millions Were Spent Building A Lake That Never Happened
Finding an abandoned house out in the middle of nowhere isn't something unusual in this part of the world. What you don't see everyday, is an abandoned lake.
Ever hear about the abandoned lake that's in the Oklahoma panhandle?
Optima Lake; An Actual Abandoned Lake
Optima Lake is in the Oklahoma panhandle, just east of Guymon. Originally, there were big plans for Optima Lake.
The story goes that it was to be a fantastic lake in the Oklahoma panhandle. Supposedly, it was going to 100 feet deep. It would be a an oasis of sorts in the Oklahoma panhandle. It would provide irrigation, drinking water, opportunities for recreation, and fish and wildlife conservation.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began their work in 1966, and finished in 1978. During that time, plans for Optima Lake hit a snag.
A big one.
Apparently, You Need Water In Order To Have A Lake
The reservoir was to be filled by the Beaver River (North Canadian River). Unfortunately, the Beaver River didn't want to "play ball" with the Army Corps of Engineers.
According to the lore, while they were working on construction, it came to everyone's attention that the flow of the Beaver River had dropped. Still, the $46-million project was completed.
Surely, the flow would pick back up. Right? The Corps even forecast 600,000 visitors annually by 2014, according to legend.
Wrong. The flow just got worse over time, which means the reservoir never even got full.
In 1995, The Park Closed
Formally, the park was closed in 1995. However, the site was still open to the public.
As you can imagine, the structures around what was supposed to be a lake fell into disrepair. Eventually, things like the bathrooms, campsites, picnic sites were all demolished. That was in 2010.
Remember the forecast for the number of visitors by 2014? Well, they didn't quite hit projections. By 2014, they averaged around 2,000 to 5,000 visitors annually.
Now, it sits abandoned. There's grass at the bottom of the boat ramp. There are no campsites or places for families to sit and picnic.
It's a testament to what could have been, but never will be.