According to Oklahoma Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell Grand Lake is prominently featured on the state’s new Oklahoma Fishing Trail. The Trail is part of a new tourism push by the state and features six loops to encourage fishermen to spend some time in Oklahoma
The Northeastern Loop features Grand Lake and Lake Hudson for largemouth bass; Grand Lake, Lake Eufaula and Lake Tenkiller for crappie; Grand Lake for paddlefish; Grand Lake, Lake Oologah, and Keystone Lake for catfish; Lake Skiatook for smallmouth bass and striped bass hybrids.
He pledged that the new Oklahoma Fishing Trail will be marked with signs on the interstates and state highways. The idea for the Fishing Trail came from GRDA’s Board Chairman Tom Kimbell
Speaking at the Grove Rotary Club last Wednesday, the Tulsa native noted that he "grew up on Grand Lake" and is now serving as the state's Secretary of Tourism and Branding. Patricia Island Country Club manager, Andy Stewart was recently appointed as a member of the state’s Tourism Commission.
Pinnell said his focus will be on tourism and entrepreneurship during his term. Gov. Kevin Stitt put Pinnell in charge of entrepreneurship department in the Oklahoma Commerce Department. Pinnell said that entrepreneurs are the future for growth in the state.
He wants to make Oklahoma one of the top 10 states in the nation for Tourism. “For every dollar we spend on promoting tourism we have a $7 return.
“The easiest new dollars for our state are tourism dollars. We currently bring in about $650 million from tourism.” He noted that 75 percent of advertising money is spent advertising to Texas residents. “Can you believe we are getting beat by Arkansas for tourism?”
He also talked about the expansion of Honey Creek State Park. “We are going to make Honey Creek a premier tourism destination. The park department has bought a large tract of land and we are planning everything from lodging to a water park and trails. We will have some town meetings to talk about what should be included. We want it to be a national attraction.”
He noted that the Honey Creek Park development should begin by 2020.
“We are doubling down on what makes us unique. We recently signed off on $4 million in capital improvements for our state parks. We are modernizing. For the first time, you can now reserve a campsite online.”
He also said there will be an emphasizes on Route 66 since Oklahoma has more miles of Route 66 than any other state. There will also be an emphasizes on Agri-Tourism. “It is the fastest-growing sector of tourism.”
Addressing his role in growing business in Oklahoma, he noted, “We need to diversify and not be so dependent on oil and gas.” He noted that we need incubators to accelerate that growth.