Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Little Sahara State Park

LITTLE SAHARA STATE PARK.

A fourteen hundred-acre, state-owned park that is open to the public at all times, Little Sahara State Park consists primarily of sand dunes and tourist amenities. In 1958, when the Waynoka Chamber of Commerce purchased two camels from a circus and placed them in the sand dunes south of their town, they created local tourism, and a movement arose to create a state recreational area. In 1959 the Oklahoma Legislature appropriated $12,500 to buy land from the Oklahoma State Land Commission and develop the park. The park offers campsites (tent or RV), picnic tables, drinking water, and toilets. A major activity is riding dune buggies (rental or privately owned) across much of the parklands.

Sand dunes, which are mounds or ridges of windblown sand, are common on the north side of most major rivers in northwestern Oklahoma. Dunes form mainly through reworking of Pleistocene-age terrace deposits by the wind. Little Sahara is a popular place to see well-developed, "active" dunes, that is, migrating dunes that are devoid of vegetation. The park's layer of sand commonly is twenty-five to seventy-five feet thick.

Sand in the Little Sahara dunes is largely reworked from terrace deposits left by the Cimarron River when it flowed across this area earlier, during Pleistocene times. In addition, some of the sand is blown from flood-plain deposits of the present river. Prevailing winds are from the south and southwest. Therefore, the wind blows, rolls, or pushes grains of sand up the gentle windward (south) slope, and the sand grains then are deposited on the steep lee (north) slope. In this way, sand dunes can migrate across the landscape and can encroach on fertile fields, roads, or even homes. Northeastward migration of these dunes has caused relocation of U.S. Highway 281 three times in the last seventy years, with each new road being built twenty-five to fifty yards east of the previous location.

Kenneth S. Johnson

See also: CAMPING, ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURAL ECOLOGY, RECREATION AND ENTERTAINMENT

Bibliography

Kenneth S. Johnson, "Woods County Site 5: Little Sahara Sand Dunes," Guidebook for Geologic Field Trips in Oklahoma: Book II, Northwest Oklahoma, Educational Publication 3 (Norman: Oklahoma Geological Survey, 1972).

Woods (Waynoka, Oklahoma) County Enterprise, 9 July 1959.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Kenneth S. Johnson, "Little Sahara State Park," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 20, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia