A few weeks ago I took a walk on Turkey Mountain. I came onto the recently cleared and regraded pipeline and I noticed that one could view the entire west side of Turkey Mountain and if you look really closely you can vaguely see the tall buildings of downtown Tulsa in the distance. We love our urban wilderness here in Tulsa.
I celebrated the news of Simon Property Group abandoning their “Premium Outlet Mall” on Turkey Mountain by going for a run on the mountain. (What the heck is a Premium Outlet Mall anyway?)
We’ve had lots of rain here in Oklahoma and although we had two dry days there were patches of soggy trails here and there that slowed me down. It wasn’t too bad though. I started out on the blue trail, then did some of the pink trail, then just did my own thing, and then the yellow for a good distance and then did some more of my own thing.
I made it over to Pepsi Lake and it was great to see it full of water again. It was about to turn into a meadow a few months ago but it is full to the brim now.
There was even some water running over the spillway. It has been a long time since I have seen running water on the mountain.
This is the route I took. For some reason my watch didn’t start when I wanted it to but that’s okay. Life is good up on the mountain. I am very glad they outlet mall threat is gone.
Linking with Weekend Reflections
Simon Properties made their first official move to make their planned outlet mall on Turkey Mountain a reality. They submitted plans to the Tulsa Metropolitan Planning Commission including a plot plan. (Thank you to the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition for posting the drawing.)
The drawing is oriented so that north is to the right. If you study on it you see that the eastern edge of the proposed development butts up right next to a creek. If you read the elevations you can see that that they are planning on building a reataining wall that will be up to 75 feet tall, right at the edge of the creek.
Above is a nearby shopping center, Tulsa Hills. It probably has about the same amount of elevation over the ground but is staged by two retaining walls and two sloped areas. Simon, to save space and shoehorn as big a parking lot as possible is just going with one wall.
I also don’t see any storm water retention ponds or anything so in my inexpert opinion whenever there is a strong rainstorm, instead of 48 acres of earth to help absorb and slow down runoff, it is all going to run off of the paved parking lot and then dumped into the creek, along with whatever trash it gathers along the way, and flushed right into Lake Logan at the West Side YMCA. I don’t think this plan is a good start.
This mall is going to be a disaster for Turkey Mountain. Simon Properties is just putting their heads down and is bulling right on ahead.
We are going to see lots of asphalt and lots of cars and lots of stores selling crap. Also, this huge mall is only going to have one entrance, off a two lane road from a freeway instersection with no lights. I’m expecting that they will want the road and the intersection upgraded at no cost to them as an “incentive.” I’m also sure that will want some fancy tax treatment to pay for infrastructure as more incentives. They are building on private land so they can do what they want but I don’t want to incentivize them. I’d like them to go somewhere else in town. Perhaps to a failed existing shopping center and redevelop it.
Instead of an urban wilderness where we can refresh ourselves.
Our vistas are all going to manmade.
Instead of what God made.
What to do?
This is far from settled. Simon is making noises about opening Fall 2016 but this should be far from settled.
Contact your City Councilor
Contact the Mayor
Check out the Tulsa Metropolitan Planning Commission
Stay informed with the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition
The Oklahoma Rock is a landmark deep into Turkey Mountain. If you haven’t found it yet, and it is not hard to find, then you really haven’t had the full Turkey Mountain experience. Lots of legends about this rock. One or two of them might be true. Otherwise you have to believe that the Native Americans here before the arrival of the white people already knew what the state would look like.
It is also part of a popular geocache. It is an offset cache where you go so many feet from the rock in the direction that the rock is pointing. That’s great except the rock has been pushed over and propped back up so many times that that doesn’t work. I found it by searching in an arc of the required distance around the rock. Even then it took me several tries.
Fortunately for us Oklahoma Rock fans it is not on the property proposed for an outlet mall. At least for now.
I ran the photo through Topaz Glow. I have seven days left on my free trial. I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to buy it or not. They should just let you use it for free until you decide to pay it. Don’t you think?
Linking with Digital Arts Meme
I participated in the Great Tulsa Camp Out on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain this past weekend. In addition to a great night of music, campfires, a glow walk, and lots of fun, there was a Yoga Class on Sunday morning. As you can a few people took the class in their jammies. I had my snuggie with me but I didn’t want to be the guy that took things too far.
Now really, does Yoga get any better than this?
Have you ever done yoga in your jammies? Or your snuggie?
Since the controversy erupted about Simon Properties‘ plans to put an 800,000 square foot outlet mall on Turkey Mountain you would think that all there is on Turkey Mountain is trails. Goodness knows there are trails on Turkey Mountain.
There are big wide trails and there are very faint, barely used, tracks through the grass and brush and everything in between.
The trails are used by runners, walkers, hikers, bikers, and even a few unicyclers. There is a lot more than trails on Turkey Mountain. Yep.
There are petroglyphs. I had heard about them and it took me a while to find but I finally found them.
Some say they were made by the vikings way back when or the Celts. Who knows. I think such things are a lot more interesting than anything I have found in an outlet mall.
What do you think?
I’ll tell you something else that goes on up on the mountain. Logan and I went up there to check our geocache in an area called Rock City. We found a several guys up there with their radio controlled jeeps negotiating the rocks. It was pretty darned interesting watching them maneuver their cars around the various obstacles.
Now that beats the pants off an outlet mall any day. Well guess what. I’m not really sure but if that mall goes in I am thinking that Rock City will be part of the mall. Yep, the best you can hope for is a Nike discount store. Buy two get a third half off is my motto.
Do you know what else goes on up there. Geocaching and geocaching is all about families and being outside and adventure. Kiss that goodbye also.
And you know something else, geocaching is all about whimsy and serendipity. You won’t find any elves doors at the mall. Not one you could afford anyway. This one is free. It is on a pretty darn steep slope. Find the cache with one hand and hold for dear life with other is the method I recommend.
Know what else? How about an Oklahoma Rock? It is probably safe from the bulldozers, for now at least. You know how it is, haters have to hate, and developers have to develop. It’s in the Bible somewhere. I think.
The thing about Turkey Mountain is that is not a real wilderness. It has old abandoned farms, cisterns, fields, and lots of oilfield. I think it used to be kind of an outlaw kind of place that is slowly going back to nature. If only we would let it.
There are lots of ghosts up on the mountain. You can almost see them at certain times late in the evening when almost everbody has gone home. There is an air of mystery about it.
Anyway Turkey Mountain is unique. A wilderness within sight of downtown. It is important to keep it that way. An outlet mall can go anywhere. If you think we need one of course. We’ve been doing fine without is my opinion. Here is a little more information on the matter.
And here is some information about the George Kaiser Family Foundation regarding their property on Turkey Mountain. They own 139 acres and pledge not to develop it. Lots of people thought that the acquisition happendd this week and that the mall is prevented. Actually, if I understand correctly, they have owned the property for some time. I guess that I have a little take on their announcement. I see it as a head nod to Simon to go ahead and send the bulldozers in, we won’t oppose you. I guess I’m a little cynical maybe. The Foundation has been really good to Tulsa They are a great supporter of the Turkey Mountain but I detect a note of surrender in their announcement. The foundation is putting together a mammoth park project on the River Parks called A Gathering Place for Tulsa. It will cost over $300 million and will be wonderful. Check out the Link.
Trail Zombie’s Post concerning the environmental impact.
The Tulsa Voice article referenced in Trail Zombie’s Post
New Facebook Page – Forgotten Malls of Tulsa reminding us that all malls have a lifecycle and it doesn’t last very long.
Blog Post by Bob Doucette on zoning and land use