Fun is kind of the whole point here in McCurtain County, Oklahoma. But even Mother Nature comes with her own set of ground rules. Park Ranger Pam and her good pal Teddy Owens said so.
To keep everyone safe and smilin’, we’ve wrangled some of their tricks of the trip — from what you need to know about the trails of Beavers Bend State Park to staying safe on the wakes of Broken Bow Lake. With this simple guide in mind, your next adventure is sure to go off without a hitch.
Well, let’s not waste another second. There are mountains to climb and cabins to kick back in, after all.
Ditch the itch, avoid the grinch!
You’ve heard the old saying, leaves of three, leave them be. While exploring Beavers Bend State Park and other areas in the Ouachita National Forest, steer clear of poison ivy and poison oak.
Always remember: sticks don’t slither!
All kinds of critters call our neck of the woods home. Even some not-so-furry friends. While hiking, biking, or making the sprint to the hot tub, keep an eye out for snakes. And help your pets and kiddos do the same.
Don’t be a schmuck, watch for trucks!
McCurtain County is forestry country. That means active logging trucks are a common sight. For your safety, allow logging trucks to pass before turning onto the road or the highway.
When the siren sounds, get to higher ground!
If you hear a loud siren while in Beavers Bend State Park, no need to fret. That sound just means the dam is about to open. Water levels at Broken Bow Lake and the Lower Mountain Fork River can rise suddenly and unexpectedly when this happens, so reel in your fishing pole or pack up the kayak and take a break at higher elevation.
Campfire smoke ain’t no joke!
After a night of s’mores and campfire stories, do our old pal Smokey the Bear a favor and put your campfire out before you go to bed. Simply douse the embers and ash in water, then use a long stick to stir and make sure everything is nice and damp. You can also mix in sand or dirt to smother the flames.
Orange you glad you wore orange?
In the fall and winter, McCurtain County is a go-to spot for hunting. But there’s no need to freeze like a deer in the headlights. When you’re out exploring the forest, wear orange to help yourself stand out. Especially you early birds and night owls.
Speaking of hunting, if you’re heading out to find your trophy game, click here to make sure you have the proper licenses.
Oh frick! Watch out for ticks!
Ticks are most active in Oklahoma in the summer months. After a day of exploring the state park, be sure to do a thorough tick check back at your cabin. Pay special attention to their favorite hiding spots, like your scalp, underarms, behind the knees…and even your nether regions. Eek.
Keep the feast away from the beasts!
Raccoons. Squirrels. Deer. Even a cuddly alligator or two. They may be cute, but for their safety and yours, avoid giving them a snack. Keeping critters away also means making sure your campsite or cabin area are clear of food when people aren’t around. More marshmallows for you!
Stay abreast, wear a life vest!
Nothing beats a good old fashioned lake day. But don’t forget the life vests. While aboard a boat, children under the age of 13 are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while underway. A life jacket must also be available for every person on board. For more on McCurtain County’s boating rules and laws, click here.
No one likes a litterbug, critterbug!
From the sparkling river rapids to the sky-high pines, McCurtain County sure is a looker. But it’ll only stay that way if we keep it that way. Do your part by throwing away your trash in the proper receptacle. And if you’re feeling extra sweet, feel free to toss any litter you cross paths with too.
Get back here already!
The most important rule in our book. Good thing we’ve got over 3,000 cabins to choose from for your next trip.
Alright, we’ve got the rules covered. Now it’s time to load up the car and get here already!