LETRA opening
A fisherman enjoys the peace and beauty of Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area as he fishes from his boat. LETRA offers a wide variety of amenities including camping, fishing, swimming, hiking and biking. The recreation area open May 25 and admission to the area is free.

FORT SILL, Okla.-- Enjoy all the lakeside amenities and splash into summer fun at Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area May 25 with the season opening. Water activities open this weekend and admission to the park is free.

LETRA offers several activities including a remodeled miniature golf course, walking and biking around the lake, six playgrounds and an archery range with 3-D targets.

Archery range

The archery range features an elevated shooting platform and new stationary targets have been ordered to replace the bales of hay. "It is another way families can enjoy the outdoors and exercise together," said Kristy Sheikh, LETRA manager. "It will also be useful for local schools teaching shooting sports and clubs who want to try archery. Patrons will need to bring their own bow to use the archery range."

Fishing tournaments

Everyone is invited to test their fishing skills or just have some fun at Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area's Fishing Tournament June 16 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. "Participants will fish for a different species each month," she said. "You can weigh up to five fish." A valid Oklahoma State Fishing license is required and can be purchased at the LETRA Country Store. The top three places will receive pay-outs. There is a $10 entry fee for the tournament.

Bicycle rentals

LETRA now offers bicycles and helmets in all sizes so the whole family can go bike riding. "Dr. Ben Cooper, the administrative physician at Comanche County Memorial Hospital and one of the founders of the FitKids of Southwest Oklahoma coalition, presented me with a $2,000 check to tie in fitness opportunities like the fitness trails we are working on and the ones leading from Cache and the Wildlife Refuge, which are complete," said Brenda Spencer-Ragland, director of Family and MWR. "There are 19 bikes available for family fun and fitness."

She added when LETRA opens, there will be the new additions -- playgrounds, archery range, beach front improvement, bicycles, the cabins and improvements to the miniature golf, the water slide and now bikes.

"So if you want to get in the great outdoors this is a great place to go," she said.

Watercraft rentals

The price for watercraft rental ranges from $8 to $25 an hour and for miniature golf the cost is $4 per person. To rent these items, stop in at the Country Store. The water slide, beach with lifeguards, watercraft rentals and mini-golf, are open Wednesday and Thursday from noon - 6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Lakeside cabins

Ten rustic wooden cabins on the west side of the park are available for rent in three different sizes: there are four small cabins, which accommodate up to four people; three medium cabins which accommodate up to six people; and three large cabins which accommodate seven people. Reservations can be made up to two months in advance by logging on to http://adv-travel.com/cabin-rentals/.

The prices for the cabins are $60 to $80 per night with an additional $10 cost for civilians. The cabins come with all the amenities including all furnishings; heat and air; a TV and DVD player; fully-stocked kitchens with dishes and silverware; and linens and towels are provided.

"All 10 cabins will be set aside for unit functions the second weekend of every month," said Sheikh. "We're providing these cabins as quality of life. We have lots of people pitching tents in summer and the cabins provide another option for campers."

According to Spencer-Ragland, there is a trend for units to off-site family retreats, "our goal is to keep the promise of the Army Family Covenant by providing other options to build family wellness and resiliency that won't put our units over their budget," she said. "If there are units that want to take advantage of the free cabins for an off-site, we don't want them to be burdened with a cost. We are offering them a quality place these families can go for respite and for family wellness right here at Fort Sill."

WiFi, Satellite TV available

Patrons renting a cabin or staying at the RV Park also have Internet and satellite TV access.

New playground near RV Park

"We already had five refurbished playgrounds onsite and a state-of-the-art playground near a group use site and RV park," said Sheikh.

The RV Park has 45 pull-through spaces available featuring both 30- and 50-amp service and on-site waste disposal and fresh water.

The RV Park also features coin-operated laundry and shower facilities. In the event of tornado or severe weather events, the restroom facilities and the Lodge basement serve as storm shelters.

Lakeside Lodge

LETRA also features a lakeside Lodge with a view of Mount Scott from the windows and deck, which is available for reservation in four and eight-hour blocks.

No outside catering can be brought in, but the Patriot Club or the Impact Zone offers on-site catering or customers can prepare food and bring it to the Lodge.

"Many people reserve the Lodge for weddings and receptions because of the picturesque photo opportunities and serene setting," said Sheikh.

One of the events for LETRA is the Co-Op Military Appreciation Family Fun Day July 14. The event is open to all military and their families and Co-Op partners.

All price lists and additional information can be found at www.sillmwr.com or by calling 442-5854.

Page last updated Thu May 24th, 2012 at 15:06