Pretty Water Lake

One Mile West of Highway 97 on 86th Street
Sapulpa, OK

Submitted by: john waytula

Although just five minutes from downtown Sapulpa, Pretty Water Lake maintains its natural, scenic appearance.

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Why It Works

Pretty Water Lake is a beautiful, natural spring-fed, 18-surface acre "jewel" with an appropriate name. The Lake has three offshore fishing docks; a scenic pedestrian bridge that spans a beautiful waterfalls area; picnic facilities. The new "Pretty Trail" (Phase I) is a ½ mile long, eight-foot wide, concrete-surfaced, lighted, multi-purpose recreation trail that provides new outdoor fitness and exercise opportunities, combined with the existing boating and fishing activities.

Pretty Water Lake is the home of the Sapulpa Park Department’s popular winter Family Rainbow Trout Fishing Program, which runs annually from October through April. It is the only winter trout fishery within 100 miles of the area. Pretty Water Lake will also be home to the new Catfish/Hybrid Panfish Stocking Program in July 2003. The City Lake now accommodates a very broad range of outdoor recreational interests and is a great tourist attraction for the Community.

What Makes Pretty Water Lake a Great Place?

The Lake is within the multi-county, regional activity center and will assist in attracting visitors and new residents. Due to the increased urbanization of the Sapulpa area, the Pretty Water Lake Project has been identified by the City’s Urban Development Program’s economic revitalization plan. Located in the heart of Creek County in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, the Lake is easily accessible from Highway 97, Highway 117, the Creek and Turner Turnpikes, and from many other heavily traveled arterials. It is just 12 minutes from the downtown Tulsa Metropolitan Area. The area is easily navigated by foot, automobile or bicycle.

The new "Pretty Trail" connects all of the Lake’s amenities, thereby making Pretty Water "barrier-free" and ADA-accessible. It also makes the Lake more accessible for anglers. New housing developments have been steadily on the rise in the Pretty Water Lake neighborhood areas.

The Lake makes a beautiful first impression. Although just five minutes from downtown Sapulpa, Pretty Water Lake maintains its natural, scenic appearance. All people utilize the Lake, especially senior citizens and families with young children. There are plenty of natural grassy seating areas, along with benches and picnic tables that are easily accessible from the main trail. It is a clean, well-maintained area under the jurisdiction of a full-time park maintenance program. It is a very safe area with plentiful security lighting, and routine patrols by the Park Department’s Park Ranger.

In addition to the financial benefits to the area brought about by the fishing program, many new recreational opportunities are being enjoyed by persons with more varied outdoor recreational interests. The "Pretty Trail" Master Plan provides access to all areas around Pretty Water Lake for walkers, runners, bicyclists, wheelchairs, roller skaters, moms with strollers, birdwatchers, photography enthusiasts, and fishermen and women. There are also picnickers, hikers, nature lovers, and people with many other varied recreational interests. Everyone enjoys the safe and beautiful natural setting - and the health benefits of a leisurely stroll, jog, or ride.

Anglers who once came to the Lake for one purpose, to fish, now enjoy a more varied recreation experience during their outings. Many non-anglers and people of all ages are coming to the Lake now with their families and friends specifically to use the trail, as well as the picnic facilities nearby.

Pretty Water Lake has tremendous and broad support within the community. It is used by a wide range of people (see above under "Uses"), and support facilities are open and available on a year-round basis at no cost. A variety of public and private agencies are served by this project including community organizations such as BIOS, SHOW, CREOKS, and Parents & Friends, who serve the Community’s physically and mentally challenged individuals; boy and girl scouts and other youth clubs; Oklahoma Handicapped Sportsman’s Association, Oklahoma Aquatic resources Education Program, 4-H; Sapulpa Alternative School Program; and other churches, local groups, schools, and countywide organizations. The Lake is also a tremendous amenity for the community’s economically disadvantaged citizens. The project is in close proximity to Sapulpa’s Pretty Water Elementary School, one of Creek County’s largest elementary (K-8) schools, which has formally "adopted" the Lake and uses it for special fitness and nature education days during the school year. Private interests are excited about the Lake as local realtors now have a community recreational "jewel" to help sell Sapulpa. The Lake has increased private property values in the area.

History & Background

Since 1994, when the massive Pretty Water Lake Cleanup and Revitalization Project started, the City of Sapulpa has invested an enormous amount of in-kind labor, equipment, materials and in-kind financial expenditures, and has acquired over $130,000 in grants for momentous and lasting improvements to the Lake. The Revitalization Project, with the Family Rainbow Trout Fishing Program, won the 1998 State Award of Excellence from the Oklahoma Recreation and Park Society.

The City’s future planning includes a transportation travel-routed trail system that will provide a new citywide mode of travel connecting the Creek West Turnpike Trail System (a major part of the Tulsa Metro Trails Plan) to a variety of City Parks. A key feature of the Master Trail Plan is to connect it to individual trail sites at each of the major recreation facilities within the community.

A survey was conducted on Pretty Water Lake from October 2000 to March 2001 to help determine the success of Sapulpa's wintertime rainbow trout program and to gain information on demographics and desires of the lake users. A total of 349 interviews were conducted (this encompassed 585 lake users). During the five-month rainbow trout season, it's estimated that people spent 15,929 hours fishing during the daylight hours only - an 11% increase from the 1998 survey.

23% of the users were from Sapulpa, down from 1998 when 47% of the users were locals. This is a positive development, indicating that the trout area is attracting not only local anglers, but those from surrounding communities as well.

Contact Info:

John Waytula, Sapulpa Parks: 918-227-5151

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