The buzzing sound of jet skis has returned to Lake Stanley Draper after a five-year absence.
The lake in southeast Oklahoma City was once a popular water sports destination for boaters and skiers. That was until a long-term project lowered lake levels, and a drought followed when that work was completed.
Boaters and water skiers were able to begin enjoying the lake again last month.
Lake Stanley Draper receives its water from Atoka Lake. The water is pumped about 100 miles from the lake, but in 2009, the Atoka Pump Station Rehabilitation Project began. This caused the lake levels to drop as six pump stations were replaced along the pipeline.
That project was completed in 2011, just in time for the state to be ravaged by a long drought. Later, a tornado damaged the existing infrastructure at the lake, causing further problems.
“It was just a combination of things,” said Debbie Ragan, Oklahoma City utilities spokeswoman. “The pump project was necessary, but then the drought happened, and it caused more problems.”
Water fun, camping
Now the lake is near normal levels and has also become the home of 32 boat slips available for residents to rent at the marina.
The slip and dock project cost about $1 million. Slips can be rented for about $230 per month, or $2,760 annually.
“We’re still down about 4.4 feet,” Ragan said. “Mostly because we haven’t had the rain lately that we had in the spring and in the first part of the summer, but boaters and skiers can still use the lake. Before, we weren’t allowing any water sports because the levels were so low.”
Ragan said the lake has had plenty of visitors on boats and jet skis since it opened again to water sports.
And water-based fun isn’t the only thing to do at Draper.
“A lot of people aren’t aware there is camping at the lake,” Ragan said. “We have some rustic campsites that can be used year-round. There is an off-road vehicle trail and a dirt bike trail. There is quite a bit to do out there that doesn’t involve boating or water skiing.”
To learn more
For more information on renting boat slips, go to www.okc.gov or call 799-0870.