On the scenic shores of Grand Lake — just an angler’s cast from the historic Pensacola Dam — a new building, devoted to greater ecosystems management and education in the lake region, is now open for business.
For GRDA, the new Ecosystems & Education Center is the latest tool in six years’ worth of efforts to bring a greater focus to lake management issues.
With nearly 70,000 surface acres of water under its control along the Grand River (including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir), GRDA has a responsibility to be a good steward of natural resources.
The building includes a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, which will be the foundation for GRDA’s stewardship efforts, as well as its new “face” on the lake. Beyond the lab, there is much more to the facility that will be beneficial to the lake area residents and visitors. For those preparing to build a dock, anglers hoping to schedule a tournament, or others seeking lake-related permits for Grand or Hudson lakes, the new building will also offer “one-stop permit shopping.”
As the new next-door neighbor to historic Pensacola Dam, the building is the starting point for the popular free tours of the dam, offered during the summer months. Each year thousands of visitors get an up-close and personal look at Oklahoma’s first hydroelectric facility and member of the National Register of Historic Places.
Another aspect of the building that cannot be overlooked is the large auditorium/community meeting space. While future public meetings can still be taken on the road the new auditorium provides more of a permanent home for the larger gatherings, as well as space for other presentations, events, etc. In conjunction with the building’s exhibit space and the next-door tours of historic Pensacola Dam, the auditorium will likely serve as one large classroom for presentations on ecosystems management, hydroelectric power, water and/or electric safety and the history of the Grand River region.
Ultimately, there are many goals for the new GRDA Ecosystems & Education Center, but they all come together under one primary goal: To provide the GRDA lakes region with a new resource to manage natural resources.