WATTS, Okla. – Kayakers, surfers and tubers will have a new place to play and relax in 2023.
The Grand River Dam Authority and the City of Siloam Springs, Arkansas are collaborating on a new whitewater adventure park. They’re calling it WOKA. It will be located near the Oklahoma and Arkansas state line.
WOKA will be based in Watts, Oklahoma at the old spillway of Lake Frances on the Upper Illinois River. It will have a 1,200 foot long, 100 foot wide channel for visitors to explore. Crews will also be constructing eight drop-features.
“The whitewater park’s name, WOKA, is formed from a combination of the words: water, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The 30-acre park falls within the Oklahoma border and inside the reservation boundaries of the Cherokee Nation,” according to its website.
Officials expect to open the park in 2023.
“WOKA will be a best-in-class whitewater park that will attract more than 85,000 visitors each year to the region,” said GRDA CEO and President Daniel Sullivan. “The WOKA Whitewater Park will bring an economic stimulus to a rural region and will become another significant tourism asset for both Oklahoma and Arkansas.”
The GRDA has been working with an engineering firm since 2018 to design the park’s land and water features.
Crews started the first phase of development in the fall of 2020. They’ve since blasted more than 100,000 tons of bedrock and are repurposing more than 32,000 tons.
(Video courtesy of Dykon Blasting Corporation)