Welcome to the home of the Friends of Lake Hefner

We are dedicated to Lake Hefner.  This includes the lake, trails and surrounding greenbelt.  Lake Hefner is home to over 35 organized groups and is used regularly by thousands of individuals.


Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Activities | 0 comments


I urge everyone to attend the meeting about new development on Lake Hefner this Thursday evening.  There was a meeting on Tuesday for the Edgewater-Lakepointe neighborhood residents and the meeting Thursday is for Lake “user groups” and other interested parties.  As we have seen in past years with other proposed projects for the lake the architecture firm has a six month head start on us.  I missed the contract approval in the Water Trust meeting notes partially because it is titled as an urban development study for Northwest Expressway.  I do know that once development starts it will be difficult to stop and impossible to correct the damage.

The outcome of what happens to the Lake Hefner Reservation is up to you and everyone you contact and bring to the meeting.  There is a 14 question survey at the meeting and that is the data they will “interpret” to make decisions and recommendations.  If you are not there to take the survey you have no voice probably until the project reaches the Council by which time it will have significant momentum.

The Lake Hefner meeting is Thursday evening, November 12, at 6:00 pm will be held in the John Marshall High School cafeteria located at 12201 N. Portland.  Enter west of the Lake Hefner Parkway to the south off of NW 122nd street at the light. 

A six o’clock start makes attendance very difficult for some of you (and me) but don’t let that deter you. Many of us were late Tuesday but the meeting got a late start.  If they start without you Thursday we’ll make them start over!

This meeting is being produced by the contracted architectural firm, Mass Architects, as a part of contract numbers WM-0218 and SM-0261, the first being a Water Trust contract and the second a Sewer Trust contract.  Each of these contracts pays for half of the $363,148.00 contract total price.  If you want to see the 35 page contract here is a link:

The area in question is the 92.49 acres on the south side of the South Lake Road stretching from Meridian Avenue to Portland Avenue.  Much of this area is a federally protected wetland for migrating birds and includes the area where we stopped the installation of a wakeboard park several years ago and six oil wells last year.  You may remember that last little week before Christmas gift from the Water Trust.

The architectural contract consists of nine steps from to the initial Marketing Study to the final Contracting and Implementation Processes.  In its’ presentation Mass will discuss how many tens of thousands of square feet of restaurants, offices, retail shops and housing will fit into this area but will not discuss the hundreds of bulldozed trees, the permanently lost natural areas and the lowering of the quality of life.  Plus when this information infuriates the crowd they are more than happy to say that alternatively it could be reflecting pools, woodland paths, flower gardens and butterflies but there isn’t any money to pay for those things.  More on the money later.

Since the community meetings are Step Two, I assume that Step One, the Market Study, has been completed so Mass has looked at the area demographics, analyzed the site locations, looked for competitors in the area, determined how many business they can shoehorn into the area in the next decade and done a title search.  Additionally, they have already held meetings with potential developers!

My personal take on commercial developers, having looked at many of the minimal amenity, sprawling installations in OKC is that if you can build near or on an already beautiful area then you’ll save a lot of money on landscaping and ongoing facility maintenance costs.  I’m not saying they all operate that way because we do have some commercial installations that are nicely landscaped and well maintained and are very easy on the eye.  I’m no expert but it seems to me that if the City would (very belatedly) require more thoughtfulness, more civility in approved building projects it would start to change the face of Oklahoma City and therefor the desirability to move and grow here.

I’m sure many of you have heard my spiel about the creation of Lake Hefner.  It was conceived as the Bluff Creek Water Supply Project in 1940 by Mayor (Judge) Robert Hefner and H. E Bailey, an engineer and the City Manager.  Most of the land was purchased but some was taken by imminent domain. The planned reservoir was reduced in size apparently in order to preserve the Gaylord Dairy operation that was located north of the current lake.  The project and bonds were sold to the citizens of Oklahoma City as a water supply lake to meet the future needs of a growing Oklahoma City AND as a great Midwestern park as the Mayor and Council agreed to the development of the reservation for recreational purposes.  The lake, which is owned by the city, is leased to the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust (OCWUT).

I believe the lake was leased to the Water Trust in the 1950’s and has been under their purview ever since.  At some point, or perhaps always, it was decided that no monies from the utilities side of the Water Trust would be used for the enhancement of recreational uses of the lake.  The lake land that is utilized by restaurants, the office buildings, private ball parks, clubs and organizations and I assume the golf course is leased with the lease monies purportedly used for reservation maintenance activities like grounds, trails and other infrastructure. The largest swath of land lost was to the Lake Hefner Parkway and I have not investigated that contract to see what the terms were.

Since monies for non-utility related purposes has to be generated from the land itself there exists a Catch 22.  The more land we give up for development the more money goes into the recreation fund (which by the way is not necessarily earmarked for Lake Hefner) and is thus available for recreational improvements.  However, the more land that is leased out the results in less land for recreational purposes and increased automobile traffic which makes the lake more dangerous and less attractive as a recreation destination.

There are improvements I would like to see but they take money and citizen effort

  • The dirt roads replaced with supported permeable surfaces – preferably grass
  • Open to the public ball parks for pick-up games
  • More slides (thanks grandson!)
  • Bathrooms that are open and serviced
  • Low speed trails for walkers & skaters
  • Return of the Lake Patrol/Park Police
  • Lower the acreage to park worker ratio
  • Signage consolidation and conformity
  • Improvements at the marina
  • Dredging of the lake
  • Ongoing litter removal
  • Less rip-rap
  • Fountains
  • More water
  • Removal of the trail bollards
  • Better accommodations for birders
  • Stop the murder of wildlife at the lake
  • South Lake Road speed limit reduced to 15 mph or even better…
  • South Lake Road blocked between Meridian and Portland so it is no longer a thoroughfare (or a high speed shortcut from Meridian to May)
  • A scale Solar System walk along the dam (call me, I’ve already designed it!)

Oil Wells on a Water Supply Lake – The Next Step

Posted by on Dec 24, 2014 in Activities | 0 comments

I really appreciate everyone who has made calls, written emails and letters, posted on social media and attended meetings in an effort to deflect this latest attempt to drill on Lake Hefner.  It is mind boggling that there is one little square of land on Hobie Point that neatly is outside the 660 foot exclusion zones and allows this company to make their proposal.  Interestingly enough the keyhole that exists allows them to drill but there are no restrictions on how much land they can take up with roads and battery tanks and pipelines and parking for fracking equipment and waste water tanks.  Believe me, this is one of those “give ‘em and inch and they’ll take a mile” situations.  Very similar to the two restaurants that were to be built on the east shore and look at them now!

Please keep contacting City officials and expressing your displeasure at the appropriate City officials not having the courage to tell the oil company NO, the citizens don’t want oil wells on Lake Hefner; all you have to do is read the Lake Hefner Recreation Master Plan they helped write!  The People rejected this in 1995, they rejected it again in 2011, did something change?

We understand the process; the rate-payer monies are only used for utilities operations and maintenance and the recreation monies and development lease monies are the only funds available for recreational improvements. It’s simple, if we want more recreation infrastructure like exercise stations or skate parks or a velodrome we either have to raise the money from outside or agree to additional development.  The results of this approach are evident.  Every time you try to cross the busy east shore entrance on the trail it is a reminder of the price paid.  In fact it’s a classic catch-22.  If we load up the lake with developments we ‘ll have a lot of money for recreational improvements, we just won’t have any place to spend it.

Ward Two Councilman, Dr. Ed Shadid, has announced another of his great town hall meetings to address the water situation in OKC.  If you haven’t been to one of his meetings yet you are missing out on what are probably some of  the most important happenings in our city.  Dr. Shadid’s efforts to enlighten OKC citizens on important topics are every bit as important as the recent PlanOKC work and everyone needs to take advantage to learn and to share their ideas about our collective future.

Please visit Water: A Town Hall Meeting and sign up to attend.  Thank you again for all of your dedication and efforts and I hope to see you at the lake!


Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Activities | 0 comments

In a holiday attack on Lake Hefner worthy of an unsavory political strategist, Pedestal Oil Company, 204 N Robinson Ave, OKC 73102, (405) 236-8596, in case you want to call or send them a Christmas card, is making another run at erecting drilling rigs on the Lake Hefner reservation.

This community meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p. m. Thursday, December 18th, at the Will Rogers Park Conservatory located at 3400 NW 36th Street.   The parking lot off of 36th is small but there is additional parking in a lot south of the Conservatory that can be accessed from N. Grand Boulevard on the east or from Pat Murphy Drive by turning in at the Oklahoma City Tennis Complex off of North Portland between NW 33rd and 34th.

Pedestal has managed to schedule the “public” unveiling as close to Christmas as possible hoping that given the choice between friends & family and concern for the community that many people will be forced to forgo the never-ending pleasure of once again having to rally to show support for sane city management principles.

As inconvenient as this meeting time is I’m sure Pedestal was sorely disappointed at not being able to secure the Christmas Eve slot for their roll-out “public” presentation as that would have virtually eliminated any chance of organized opposition from concerned citizens.

Congratulations, I’m conflicted.  I’m very busy at work this time of year, I have shopping to do, I have family to be with, I have charitable work, I have decorations to install and trips into other neighborhoods so my grandson can point out the houses that are decorated better than mine, I have electric trains and battery operated emergency vehicles to assemble.

Conflicts aside, the Lake Hefner reservation means enough to me that once again I’ll forgo some of my personal time to band together with my friends and neighbors in an attempt to deflect this latest assault on native Oklahoma.  Hope to see you there.

Merry Christmas


Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Activities | 0 comments


Re: Lake Hefner Boat Owners Association / Central Oklahoma Sailing Association / Hobie Point Yacht Club

This amalgam of organizations (I’ll call it LHBOA) is currently renegotiating the permit for the use of Keel Hall and other lake areas for the purpose of supporting sailing activities.  This permit has been in place, renewed annually, for twenty years.

In exchange for permitted access to these facilities LHBOA agrees to pay the city an annual monetary consideration, carry a $1M liability insurance policy to hold the City and the Water Trust harmless, coordinate and execute a harbor watch for the City marina, conduct boating and water safety classes, maintain the Keel Hall building, and provide other activities that enhance the water based recreational aspects of the lake.

Over the years, organizational dues have covered the insurance, the monetary consideration and the upkeep of the building.  Core members of these organizations have walked the docks looking for boats in distress and notified the Harbor Mistress who contacts the boat owner, identified and reported maintenance problems with the facilities, have raised sunken boats, rescued sailors and boats in distress on the lake in lieu of the now defunct City Lake Patrol, sponsored the Boy Scouts of America’s Sea Scouts Ship 131 at Lake Hefner, held litter clean-up events, provided National Association of State Boating Law Administration Approved Boating Safety Courses, and numerous other services to the City, the Water trust and the boating public.

Unfortunately, the low water situation the last few years has severely depleted the membership levels of these organizations as boaters have moved on to other activities away from the then un-navigable lake, and now they need your help to continue this relationship with the City.  If they do not have an influx of former and new members by the end of July they will have to abandon the permit with the city and the services they perform will cease.  The very successful Sea Scout  program can be sponsored by FoLH but as FoLH does not charge dues a source of funding would have to be created.

FoLH has never asked for money and I do not see that as a basis for our public serving works so I am appealing to you civic minded citizens to help by renewing your memberships if you are past members or joining or donating to help support these vital services.  You may think that is of interest only to boaters on the lake but these organizations are at the lake daily, are involved in other activities at the lake, form the core membership of FoLH, are very active in the lake politics of preservation and enhancement of recreational opportunities and above all, active people at the lake make the Water Trust, the City Council and the Parks and Recreation people happy because they see that this area of their efforts is having a positive impact on the image and the quality of life in Oklahoma City.

Please help!

Dale Birchett


Friends of Lake Hefner

Auto Burglaries Around Lake Hefner Pick Up Over Weekend

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Activities | 0 comments

Posted: May 19, 2014 6:26 PM CDT       Updated: May 19, 2014 6:27 PM CDT        By Heather Hope, News 9 -

OKLAHOMA CITY – Crime is picking up near and around Lake Hefner. About a dozen people were victims of a string of car break-ins over the weekend.

The Lake Hefner area was packed with many people on the trails and thieves in the parking lots doing a string of smash and grabs.

“These people they were busy on Friday night, I guess the weather was good enough for them to go stealing, but they didn’t want to go exercise,” theft victim Sherri Grubbs said.

Grubbs said she was enjoying a beautiful evening bike ride at Stars and Stripes Park when it took an ugly turn.

“Well, we pull up as we’re coming back and there are people standing around the truck, which was odd and I said what happened? And they said you’ve been hit, and I have never been a victim of a burglary in any way shape or form, and then I saw a piece of his window underneath his truck, they had just broken it and covered it,” Grubbs said.

She said thieves broke out a back passenger window to get her purse that she hid underneath the driver’s seat. Grubbs’ purse, wallet, checks, pocket book and clothing were stolen while her boyfriend’s wallet and checkbook were sitting in the front seat.

“But the joke was on them, because I had no money in my purse, not one dollar,” Grubbs said.

“I’m surprised, there are so many people out there, people going by at all times,” said Grubbs. “We would never park anywhere that was isolated, and so that’s what surprises me.”

Grubbs is one of several victims who had their cars broken into near Lake Hefner.

“It appears wallets, purses and several things were obviously taken, it’s possible that the same suspect or suspects are responsible for all of these incidents,” Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.

Grubbs heard from police that some stolen items were found inside a dumpster at 70th and Santa Fe, so she went dumpster diving for three hours and not only did she recover some of her things, she found a lot of other people’s belongings too.

A bag of jeans, shoes, shirts, checkbooks, a citation and even a baby picture were trashed in the dumpster.

“I like Lake Hefner, I’ve always felt pretty safe, but this has happened multiple times in the past also, seems to be a problem out there, but i don’t think it will deter me from not going,” Grubbs said.

Police say they have calls for about 43 auto-burglaries in the past year in the Lake Hefner area and urge everyone to never leave valuables in the car and to make sure all windows are up.

Police don’t have any, but one victim said she saw a young male suspect with a blue shirt get away in a Nissan Maxima.

If any items Grubbs found in the dumpster belong to you, her email is

Thinking about a lifestyle change?

Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in Activities | 0 comments


Living on a Sailboat, Planning, Preparation, and Budget

Place: “Keel Hall” at the OKC Municipal Marina.

(at Gate 4, just south of the Lake Hefner Golf Club)

Time: Thursday, October 24th at 7:00 PM.

Come meet other sailors that dream of far away places.

Volunteers Needed for the Oklahoma River

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Activities | 0 comments

Date: Wednesday, September 25th
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Location: Chesapeake Boathouse-Oklahoma River, 725 S. Lincoln Blvd.

Help the Boathouse District clean up the Oklahoma River in preparation of the 2013 Oklahoma Regatta Festival. Volunteers are needed on Wednesday, September 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Meet at the Chesapeake Boathouse to receive clean up instructions, trash bags and plastic gloves.

To volunteer, register at or call 405-525-8822.

Inaugural PROJECT LIFE 5K Announced

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Activities | 0 comments

The Oklahoma City Fire Department is hosting the first Project Life 5K run on Saturday, October 5, at 9 a.m. at the Lake Hefner East Wharf (the restaurant area off of Britton Road). Registration for the 5K or the 1 mile fun run or walk is $25.00 per person.

All money raised in this inaugural event will go toward the fire department’s smoke alarm project. The Oklahoma City Fire Department provides smoke alarms free of charge to the public and will also assist with installation of the alarms if requested.

According to the programs organizers a properly working smoke alarm gives a resident a fifty percent better chance of survival should their home ever catch on fire. Most residential fires occur at night and most fatalities are from smoke inhalation.

For more information on the event, or to sign up for the run, visit the Project Life Run website.


Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Activities | 0 comments

The horrific storm event of May 20th has affected us all. I have posted a page of resources that was collected by Tinker Air Force Base and passed to me by the Oklahoma City Department of Airports. Our thoughts and hopes for those affected are universal and I know we will all assist our fellow Oklahomans however we can. RESOURCES FOR TORNADO RELIEF


Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Activities | 0 comments

The Canton water flowing into Lake Hefner is expected to peak February 28th with about 6 feet of water in the City harbor. Without further precipitation the level will then begin dropping at a rate of about a half inch per day with that rate increasing with the anticipation of Spring and more outdoor watering beginning.

Boats with shoal draft or retractable keels can probably start being hauled immediately. Boats with full keels need to take advantage of the high water starting February 28th.

The Lake Hefner Boat Owners Association (LHBOA) will meet at 7:00 p.m.. Thursday, February 28th at Keel Hall and one of the items of discussion will concern whether the various lake users can assist boat owners in retrieving their boats while the water is up at this time.

Be aware that the predictions are for the drought to continue for at least the Spring and Summer so it looks doubtful that we will see this much water in the lake for the rest of the year and the City has not made a decision as to whether or not they will suspend wet slip rental fees this year. If this last item is of concern to you I suggest you call your City Councilperson and let them know your viewpoint.


Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Activities | 0 comments

The Lake Hefner clean-up has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 13, 2013. We will meet at the picnic area across from the Harbor Master Station at the City Marina at 9:00 a.m. We will provide trash bags and gloves but please don’t hesitate to bring your own as any donations are always helpful.

We will set up a grill and have a pot-luck lunch at noon so plan on bringing food and or drinks to support the workers. But let’s keep it simple and limit ourselves to hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, etc. that can be easily cooked and eaten with your fingers. I guess we just aren’t a white linen tablecloth kind of organization! Hope to see you there.

An update will be posted here after the March 19th Friends of Lake Hefner meeting.

Lake Hefner Dam Road Repairs Approved

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in Activities | 0 comments

The City Council and Water Trust have contracted for and approved the Public Works Department Project PM-0226 to repair the large cracks in the asphalt dam road. These repairs will be accomplished from the present date through April 30, 2013 and hopefully will have a low impact on trail users as warmer weather and trails traffic begins it’s annual Spring increase.


Posted by on Apr 5, 2013 in Activities | 0 comments

From the internet March 5, 2013

District Two Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan is announcing a new program that would remove Eastern Red Cedar trees from public and private land across Oklahoma County.
Officials said the trees can drain up to 40 gallons of water a day from soil, making it hard for landowners to keep other plants and crops alive.
The trees are also filled with oils that make them a major wildfire hazard.

Email from Lisa Hubbell, Utilities Department, City of Oklahoma City April 5, 2013

… Oklahoma County, with the City’s approval, has initiated a program to remove eastern red cedars from the south shoreline of Lake Hefner. I have attached a map reflecting the cedar removal area, for your reference. The work is scheduled to begin in the next week or so. The City is hoping the removal of this invasive tree species will reduce some water loss and help open views of the lake from South Lake Hefner Drive.

Lake Hefner Cedar Removal Area


Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Activities | 0 comments

The Parks Department is developing a Trails Wayfinding Master Plan.   The consultant is hosting the event at the Chesapeake Boathouse, in the Oar Room, to receive input from citizens, community leaders, and city employees regarding the conceptual design of trail signs and a wayfinding system.  The consultant will be holding an Open House through April 17 from 1-5pm.  If you have definitive thoughts or ideas that you would like to contribute toward the conceptual design of this system, I would encourage you to stop by and share them with the consultant.

Bicyclists, walkers, runners,skaters, boarders, taxpayers, citizens, if you want to have input into the trails system for Oklahoma City this is a good place to start.  Trails, and sidewalks and parks, will only get developed and maintained in this city if YOU, the citizen user-payers, show interest in having these amenities in Oklahoma City!

Don’t be afraid to look at what the city is doing and putting in your two-cents worth because the City has absolutely no qualms about spending your tax dollars on their pet projects.  Plus look at the circles our City officials revolve in, have you had cocktails or lunch with your Councilperson lately?  No?  Then how does that person, your representative, know how you, a taxpaying voter, feels about the way the city is being operated?

Go to the Chesapeake Boathouse, look at how an area can be developed if the city is motivated to do so, and get involved in the conversation!  Thanks for believing in Oklahoma City and in the process of transparent government!!!

Thursday, April 17
8 a.m. – 12 p.m.      Production – design concepts, field verifications.
12 p.m. – 1 p.m.      Lunch
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.       Open House for City Staff, Stakeholders & Advisory Committee Members – Pop in and out as your                                        schedule permits.
Design Team Production – design concepts, field verifications.
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.      Final Presentation
Friday, April 18
8 a.m. – 12 p.m.    Design Team Production – consolidate final comments, plan next steps. (CEI offices)