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Tulsans to See Water in Zink Lake for First Time This Week

3/4/2024

This week, the City is starting the process to impound water in Zink Lake, a 2.5-mile recreational attraction located next to Gathering Place, which will open on Labor Day Weekend 2024 alongside Tulsa’s new pedestrian bridge, Williams Crossing.

This week, Tulsans will notice increased and varying levels of water in the 2.5-mile stretch of the Arkansas River behind the new Zink Dam. As the 10-foot dam gates are exercised for the opening, the amount of water in the lake will vary as the City’s contractor conducts testing and filling operations to be able to start running water through the flume.

“It is just wonderful - after so many people have worked hard for so many years - to see our new lake becoming a reality,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “This lake will be transformative for Tulsa by harnessing our greatest natural feature: the Arkansas River. As fine tuning occurs throughout the spring and summer, Labor Day weekend will soon be here, and the opening of Zink Lake will introduce canoeing, kayaking, and recreational amenities to make our new lake a regional recreational destination. I want to thank my fellow Tulsans for their commitment to this project in the belief that our city should live up to its potential. We are getting close!”

Despite water being in Zink Lake, the lake and Williams Crossing will remain closed to the public prior to opening weekend while the City works to fine-tune the flume and its procedures. While certain recreational activities will be allowed in the lake when it opens, no recreational activities will be allowed before Labor Day Weekend 2024.

On-site signage is being placed at various River Parks locations notifying the public of the Zink Lake closure while informing residents of how to get more information on the project.

Public Engagement Opportunities
Following the February 27 public meeting, Tulsans will have additional opportunities for engagement as the project approaches implementation. The City’s Design Studio, a section of the Department of City Experience, is ready to take on additional stakeholder meetings, pop-up outreach at community events, and other opportunities later this summer. Neighborhood organizations and others interested in learning more about these opportunities can contact the City’s Urban Strategist, Emma Morris, at emorris@cityoftulsa.org

Recreational Opportunities & Amenities
A broad array of activities and recreational opportunities are expected to be available at Zink Lake when it opens. Anticipated water activities include non-motorized watercraft like kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, etc. A 1,000-foot whitewater flume is located in Zink Lake on the east bank where wave shapers and flume pools will be available for kayakers. Swimming is not an activity anticipated on the lake. Recreational activities can be expected to commence when Zink Lake opens on Labor Day 2024.

Small boat ramps are expected to be located along the east and west banks where users will be able to bring non-motorized watercraft like kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards to the lake. Boat ramps will not have vehicle access. Kayak rental stations are also being planned for the east bank, which could potentially be open when the lake opens on Labor Day Weekend 2024.

Additional parking and bathrooms will be available on the east and west banks.

Concession opportunities are expected, and when Zink Lake opens along with Williams Crossing, there will be connections to the bridge and the east and west banks through sidewalks and trails. Walkways will offer Zink Lake visitors the opportunity to be right by the water and flume.

Fishing is expected to be available from the banks, but not in the flume.

Water Quality Plan
City officials have worked for the last six months on identifying water quality testing parameters, protocols and reporting methodologies. The City has contracted A&M Engineering and AquaStrategies to assist in the City’s water quality monitoring program for Zink Lake – the only program of its kind in Oklahoma.

Testing protocols are currently being refined for nine different parameters, which include both biological and chemical considerations.

The City has developed a water quality dashboard that will be live on the City’s website for anyone to view. That dashboard will go live later this month and will be publicly communicated before Zink Lake opens. Dashboard information will be smartphone compatible and be readily available via on-site signage. The operator is also in the process of developing on-site communication methods (i.e. flagging, signs, lights, etc.).

 

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About Zink Lake

Zink Lake is a 2.5-mile lake located in the Arkansas River that extends from near Downtown to Gathering Place. Zink Lake is made possible by Tulsans through $48 million in funding through Vision Tulsa. For more information about Zink Dam and Zink Lake, in addition to a list of frequently asked questions, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/Zink