Skywatch Friday – News from Turkey Mountain

I was invited to a press conference a week or so ago. It was by the Tulsa River Parks Authority, the folks who manage the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, to announce that they received a large grant ($2.1 million) from Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, (“TSET”) to build more trails on Turkey Mountain.

So Riverparks authority execs and TSET board members showed up along with some Tulsa County bigwigs as well as board members of the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition. And of course the media was there with cameras and drones. So we had some short speeches and the ceremonial presentation of the oversize check. It was interesting and I’m all about more money for improvements such as trails for Turkey Mountain.

The yellow trails are the phase one trails. I’ve been on all of them!!

TSET is an interesting entity. It is funded as a result of a huge lawsuit that that Oklahoma and a bunch of other states filed against the tobacco companies back in the late 1990’s. There was a Master Settlement in 1998 where the four largest tobacco companies agreed to pay the states an annual fee. Oklahoma puts the money in a trust to fund various health related programs such as the trails at Turkey Mountain. Read the details here.

So after the presentations and the individual interviews RiverParks took everybody on a hike to look at the new staircase up the mountain.


It’s about 130 feet long with a 100 of vertical elevation. The tour only went up halfway. Then the all the VIP’s went back down the trail.

It was said during the hike that the 100 feet of elevation change represents 300 million years of time. This was all the bottom of the ocean at one time..

Me? I’m a retired guy, I came to the press conference with my hiking boots and water bottle. I went the rest of the way up and took a little hike.

Turned right at the top of the stairs and went a short way to an overlook over south Tulsa and the Arkansas River.


And then headed north for a short loop.


This Christmas tree is on the blue trail and yet has no blue ornaments! What’s up with that. I am going to remember to bring a sack and take all this down. Nothing ages faster than ornaments outdoors.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

23 thoughts on “Skywatch Friday – News from Turkey Mountain

  1. Pat

    This is good news for Turkey Mountain and dedicated visitor and hiker “Yogi”! Glad to see that compensation money goes towards recreation and beautification.

  2. Penelope Notes

    Nice to know your favorite hiking place is getting some love. That is a big chunk of change. Many victims of tobacco companies deceptions aren’t around to enjoy the upgrades, sadly, but many others will.

  3. Lene

    A beautiful area for hiking! Beautiful photos you show us and the tree with the Christmas balls has brought a smile to my face!
    Happy weekend!

  4. Eileen

    It is great news, your favorite park and hiking place received the grant money.
    The new trails will be nice to add to your outings. Looks like a pretty sky day for the press conference.
    Take care, have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Lisa

    Wonderful view of the city and river. I really like the steps, they did a nice job making them almost natural. They don’t scream out “I am a man-made step!”

  6. John's Island

    Hi Alan, What an interesting story about how we are now getting something of value from the tobacco companies. Very cool post. I haven’t visited yogisden for a while and I’m glad I stopped by, and, it reminded me that I haven’t linked up with Skywatch Friday for a while, so I did that too. Have a happy weekend and best regards from Seattle. John

  7. Ellen

    It would be nice to know how many trails are on Turkey Mountain. You’re lucky to have the resources in Tulsa that take of your outdoor spaces.

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