Work Continues On Whitewater Rafting Park Officials Hope Will Boost Tourism In Oklahoma
A new outdoor attraction in eastern Oklahoma announced last year remains under construction.
The WOKA Whitewater Park will sit east of Watts, Oklahoma, at the Arkansas state line near Siloam Springs. It's a partnership between the Grand River Dam Authority, the city of Siloam Springs and the Walton Family Foundation. Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma have touted the park as an economic driver.
"Travel and tourism are core drivers for Oklahoma’s economy. GRDA assets alone bring in more than $840 million per year into Oklahoma’s economy. WOKA will be a great addition to make that impact even bigger," Stitt said.
GRDA expects the park to attract upwards of 85,000 visitors each year from Oklahoma, Arkansas and around the region.
"Super excited about WOKA coming in. You know, I go over to Bentonville all the time and mountain bike. We go over there and rock climb all the time as well. So, it’s about 45 minutes from home. We live in midtown Tulsa, and we’ll certainly be driving over there and taking advantage of that circuit you guys are putting in. Super stoked," said Jason Burks, owner of climbing gym Climb Tulsa.
Construction costs are estimated at $33 million dollars, almost entirely funded by the Walton Family Foundation. Park boosters say it's expected to provide just under $1 million in economic impact per year once it opens in 2023.