Class III and IV whitewater in Oklahoma?? You bet. Flagpole Mountain near Clayton, Oklahoma is a unique plateau unlike any other area of the Ouachita Mountains. It offers ten (or more) whitewater streams for paddlers to explore, ranging from Class II to IV+, and is a short drive from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Little Rock, Dallas, and Shreveport, Louisiana.
Let that sink in for a second. These runs are some of the most accessible whitewater segments for middle America. Paddleable segments include Buck Creek , Pine Creek , Clear Creek , Maxwell Creek , Little Cedar Creek, East Fork of Little Cedar Creek, Crumb Creek , and Wildcat Creek, although we suspect many more lie untouched on top of Flagpole Mountain. Of these, Pine and Buck are known to hold water for multiple days after a good rain.
The kicker is that we needed a gauge on which to base the water levels. Previously, there was no true way of knowing if any of these creeks were running without calculating rain totals and driving hours based on a hunch. In 2016, thanks to donations from numerous sources, including the Arkansas Canoe Club and OKC Kayak, that dream became a reality. The Pine Creek gauge is now ideally situated on beautiful Pine Creek, a sporty Class III run . The gauge provides dependable pool-height readings and can be accessed here. Once we understand the minimum level, we will be linking the gauge to American Whitewater and the Ozark Creek Information Summary. Our best guess at a minium floatable level currently is at least 7 feet on the gauge.
Funding will be the major issue moving forward. Per USGS, the maintenance fees total $4,000 annually. Your funds will be put directly towards helping us keep this treasured gauge. While there are some plans in the mix to secure long-term funding, 2018 and 2019 will be pivotal years for this project because it will allow explorers to calibrate the ideal levels and educate other paddlers about the area. We need your help now!
Any paddlers living in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas stand to benefit from this gauge, as do any whitewater boaters travelling along the I-30, I-40, and I-35 corridors. The Flagpole Mountain creeks often run when nothing is going in Arkansas. There are state parks within a thirty minute drive of the gauge itself. This is very real opportunity to advance whitewater paddling in Oklahoma and we ask that you be a part of it.
Here's the breakdown:
1. We need to raise $2, 273 by (of 2018) to keep the gauge alive through 2019.
2. After that, we will need to raise $2,600 to support the gauge through March of 2020.
Both of these totals include GoFundMe's charges. All donated funds are overseen by a collection of Arkansas Canoe Club-affiliated paddlers, so you can rest assured that your donation will go straight towards funding this gauge (ain't no funny business going on here). Anything you can donate will go a long way to helping us open up Flagpole Mountain to the whitewater community!