Turner Falls Park expands free admission for local residents

Sierra Rains
Youngsters from Arlington, Texas, cool off from the afternoon sun at Turner Falls while fishing for minnows with nets.

The Turner Falls Park in Davis is expanding free admission for residents in Davis and Murray County.

As of Tuesday May 19, all Davis residents will be able to enter the park for free seven days a week. Murray County residents will have free admission Monday through Thursday.

City of Davis Public Information Officer Susan Suther said local residents had previously been offered free admission on a select few days. However, the city wanted to expand access to local residents.

“It’s kind of a jewel in Murray County and Davis,” Suther said. “The city of Davis owns (the park) but we are a service to the citizens of the city of Davis. We just want our citizens to utilize it.”

Park admission during the summer months typically costs $16 for adults and $9 for children, active-duty military and seniors.

Suther said the majority of visitors at the park are no longer locals — many coming from out of state and other locations throughout Oklahoma.

“We know that that’s not the majority of our visitors,” Suther said. “So we want them to be able to come in for free and for day use.”

Suther said the city plans to permanently continue letting local residents in for free on the newly expanded days. Visitors will be required to provide proof of residency upon entrance. “They need a utility bill or a driver’s license in their name with their address,” she said.

Local residents will still be required to pay for camping, shelters or cabins if they choose to utilize those services. At this time, admission to the park is still being limited to 2,000 people at a time in order to help lessen the spread of COVID-19.

“We don’t how long we’re going to keep that in place and the way that works, the main limitation at Turner Falls is the parking situation,” Suther said. “So as the day goes on we can tell when the park attendance has dropped substantially because there’s fewer people at the park.”

Management on site at the time will release more tickets as the attendance drops over the course of the day. “I think the first weekend we might have released another 300 tickets,” Suther said.

Park goers are reminded to practice social distancing, avoid camping close together and to wear masks when around others. Sanitation has also been ramped up at the park and the number of guests allowed in the trading post at one time is being limited.

Lifeguards have been hired and will be on duty at the Blue Hole swimming area. However, the park is still seeking additional team members to staff lifeguards at the falls swimming area. At this time, swimming at the falls is still being considered “at your own risk.”

Individuals should check the park’s website at https://www.turnerfallspark.com or the Turner Falls Park Facebook page to ensure there is space available at the park before arriving.