I came across a local TV news blurb saying the about-to-be-constructed highway (turnpike) connecting I-44 and I-40 in East Oklahoma County will cut through the very edge of a Girl Scout Camp, Camp Cookieland.

Okay, yes, and they should work with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to work things out and disrupt the small camp as little as possible. A couple of the local TV stations have already covered the subject, and most news outlets around here are covering the overall turnpike situation. It is necessary, and it will be hard on some folks, but our area needs the highway, and sooner will be easier than later. It is a matter of safety, first, and economic development, and it improves the likely longevity of Tinker Air Force Base, which is incalculable in value to Oklahoma, especially Oklahoma County.

Here is a graphic of the situation:
GS & OTA East OK County

As you can see, I copied this straight off a Google Maps search, and edited. The light green-yellow outline is the camp. (You can verify the property records with Oklahoma County.) The orange lines approximate the nearly final location of the multilane divided highway. Yes, it will matter. It should be quite workable though.

The news report I heard indicated the Girl Scout office and administration personnel were leaving it to the girl scouts to decide. They are apparently planning a meeting for the end of March. I hope they stand up for themselves, but I also do not want to see it become too much. I’ll leave it at that, because things could get worse than I could imagine. Emotions can run high anytime something inevitable is about to happen, especially if those affected suppose something different could be done. Well, something different just affects others. I’ll trust they will be reasonable on both sides. I expect the engineers were aware as they drew the lines. I also trust that OTA is prepared to defend their decision and present what little room there will be for adjustment.

I sure hope all involved will focus on the more important aspects, stay rational, subjugate their own emotions to their own reason without external coercion, and arrive at a good solution with the least pain possible for all involved. Pain in these circumstances will be unavoidable. All of us need to recognize and acknowledge how hard this is going to be on a few for a while in order for all of us to be better off in the long run.

Again, this highway is necessary. It is inevitable. Sooner rather than later results in minimized pain and maximized benefit. Let’s all cooperate and pull together as needed.

We Oklahomans have a reputation of helping our neighbors in need. This is a time to show it.

I’m too far away to be affected by the construction, but the benefits will reach several miles in all directions. Those of us in such favorable circumstances must keep in mind we just might need to go the extra mile for our neighbors sooner or later. Let’s be mindful of our obligations and fill them when we can.

Girl Scout camp link:
http://www.gswestok.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/ways-to-participate/camp-and-outdoors.html

A tidbit, many Girl Scout camps are being sold because the organizations responsible for them can’t make an economic case for keeping them up. I have no idea what the status of this particular camp is. I think it likely that it will be around for several years to come.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority web site for the overall effort:
http://www.drivingforwardok.com/#!northeast-ok-county-loop/uaypg

There is documentation there, and recent events. At this writing, they hadn’t added information about the public meeting in Harrah in March for announcing the nearly-final route.

One last thought, noise is a nonstarter. Look up Camp DaKaNi in Google Maps. The interstate highway and Frontier City are a half-mile away. I’ve never heard anyone mention noise, and I never consciously noticed it myself in the many days I volunteered out there.

In my experience, nobody cares about noise, except on those rare occasions an E-3 or B-1 is flying low overhead. Yeah, most everyone will cover their ears, but it flies on within a few seconds. I live about two-and-one-half miles from the runway and aircraft ramps on Tinker AFB. Many people live closer.

I grew up three blocks from a major rail line. I’ve lived within 750 feet of a major US interstate highway, and I’ve known many who’ve lived even closer to such noise sources. People seem to only have problems with such noise sources when they are warned of them. When they exist, nobody notices. Airports are exceptional, but as I said, Tinker AFB is too close and too important for any of us in Oklahoma County to complain of noise.

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