The Gruber ORV Recreation Area
The Gruber ORV Recreation Area on Highway 10 north of Braggs, Oklahoma was granted to Muskogee County in March of 1990 by the US. Department of the Interior. The land was originally conveyed to the State of Oklahoma as a State Park back in the early eighties but ownership was transferred back to the government by the state due to budgetary limitations and lack of funding to keep the park open. In 1988 the land was declared surplus and made available for applications by government agencies. The Oklahoma Department of corrections applied for the land with the intent to build a minimum security prison facility on the property. The DOC Withdrew its application in 1989 due to an overwhelming negative public opinion. At that time the Eastern Oklahoma Development District (EODD), a county funded organization filed an application for the land for recreational purposes. Since there were no other competing applications, the Director of Southwestern District, U.S. Department of the Interior based in Albuquerque, New Mexico came to convey the 455.55 acres of propeny to Muskogee County in March of 1990.
The first district Commissioner John Cohea and the Muskogee County Board of County Commissioners realizing they did not have the resources to manage a county owned recreation area asked the EODD to research the possibilities of creating an entity to manage the property. With a joint effort between the County and State of Oklahoma, the Gruber Recreational Trust Authority, a public trust was created to manage and develop the property. A five member Board of Trustees was created and each volunteering board member was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. Then per the Trust Indenture, each member was sworn into the position on the Trust Board by the County Clerk. The Trust is a public organization and complies ‘With the state open meeting laws. The original five members were:
Michael Ward — Chairman
Darrell “Bo” Stanfill — Vice-chairman
Jack Tyler — Secretary/treasurer
Doug Hayes – Board Member
Ed Cunnius — Board Member
The Trust thanks all the current and past board members who for both long and shot term participation have kept the park up and operating for the past 21 years. Without their volunteering to serve, the park would not be open for the public to enjoy. Over the life of the Trust, it has been totally self sufficient, not costing the tax payers or Muskogee County a single cent Funding for the Park’s expenses and operation has been supported by donations from several off road motorcycle organizations. Park improvements have been accomplished by charity fund raisers, donations and grant funding through the years. The
principal funding has been through various motorcycle club charity events and land user fees from competitions.
The Board has spent over $60,000.00 grant money made available by the Recreational Trails Grant Program funded by the Simms Intermodal Transportation Act administered by the Oklahoma Tourism and recreation Department. The park property was surveyed, two pavilions were built, a water well drilled, two electrical hookup connection boxes have been installed along with 10 charcoal grills. These accomplishments could not have been made without the in-kind match of donated labor, material and equipment by the individuals, 4WD and motorcycle enthusiasts who use the parks trail system. The Trust would like to also thank all the countless numbers of volunteers who have donated their time to keep the park clean and operating for over two decades.
The Board meets once a month and holds a public meeting for which all are welcome to attend. For more informoation about our next and past meeting visit the board meeting page.