Additional sources of information on the Illinois River and Lake Tenkiller
Oklahoma Water Resources Board, United States Army Corps of Engineers and Oklahoma State University Report, Final Report for Cooperative "Clean Lakes" Project, Phase I Diagnostic and Feasibility Study on Lake Tenkiller, Oklahoma, Project Report GP 016, June 1996.
Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission, White Paper(s) on Water Quality.
OKLAHOMA SCENIC RIVERS
Former State Representative Jim Townsend, State Senator Beau Selman, and conservationist David Strickland were visionaries for the protection of Oklahoma scenic rivers. Earliest attempts to legislate protection were defeated as plans were in motion for another dam on the beautiful Illinois River.
But these individuals and members of the Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club and other organizations did not give up and, in 1970, the Scenic Rivers Act was adopted by the Oklahoma State Legislature.
Six state rivers were brought under special protection including the Illinois River, Flint Creek, and Barren Fork Creek.
Oklahomans owe a great debt of gratitude to these earliest advocates of
scenic river protection.
Townsend, an author of the Scenic Rivers Act, described the purpose and need for protecting scenic rivers:
“...Our goal should be to make the free flowing streams a symbol of the great Oklahoma spirit.
The rivers were the lifelines of our ancestors, providing food to keep them strong, water to cleanse and heal their bodies and beauty to stimulate their minds and spirits. Their floodplains nourished the animals that provided
fur and clothing and shelter.
The sparking rapids and cool clear holes are mirrors that reflect our past, our present, and our future. We have a moral obligation to keep them free of the contamination of progress that is based only on material gain. We must become the first generation of Oklahomans who will put a stop to the rape of our natural resources, particularly our air and water.
Oklahoma’s future is bright only so long as our water is clear and the air is fresh.
As little raindrops of water can make a river rampage and cut a new channel, we as Oklahomans, you and I, must assume our responsibilities and join hands in the common cause of conservation.
Perhaps we’ll have to go on a rampage to develop a new thought channel --- environment first, industry second, Oklahoma always.”