Little Sahara State Park
|Little Sahara State Park|
Dunes in Little Sahara State Park
|Location||Woods County, Oklahoma, United States|
|Nearest city||Waynoka, OK|
|Area||1,600 acres (6.5 km2)|
|Governing body||Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department|
Little Sahara State Park is a state park located in Oklahoma, named for its resemblance to the Sahara Desert.The vast dunes have formed over time from terrace deposits, remnants of prehistoric times when the Cimarron River flowed over the entire area.
Little Sahara was founded in the early 1950's as a city park by Grace Ward Smith, head of Alva's Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, the dunes were primarily seen as a nuisance, encroaching on Highway 281, requiring the road to be re-routed. Smith named the park to lure visitors, hired locals to guide and act as outlaws, and in 1958 purchased a pair of camels. In September 1960, the state of Oklahoma purchased the 339 acre parcel for $12,500. Later that year, 4,000 visitors viewed a Christmas pageant starring the camels. By 1963, the park had expanded to 1,600 acres. That spring, a local auto dealer rode the dunes in a "makeshift steampunk vehicle with wide rims and balloon tires, topped by hay-rake wheels serving as roll bars." This activity quickly gained popularity and local businesses continue to offer rentals.
Little Sahara State Park is located in northwest Oklahoma, south of Waynoka. The park offers over 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) of rideable sand dunes ranging in height from 25 feet (7.6 m) to 75 ft (23 m). Amenities include showers, picnic areas, 86 RV hookups with electric/water and 143 tent sites. Seasonal concessions provide refreshment, and fuel and grocery are located nearby. In 2015, 128,397 riders paid $10 each to enjoy the dunes. Riders and all Passengers now (2017) have to pay $10 each to enjoy the dunes.
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