Quartz Mountain State Park (since 2002 called Quartz Mountain Nature Park) is one of ten original sites contemplated by the Oklahoma legislature in 1935, when it appropriated twenty-five thousand dollars to create a State Park Commission to work with the National Park Service in securing funds and labor through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a federal government job program. The legislature asked local residents to purchase the land and donate it to the state. Citizens of Greer County purchased 158.3 acres of land adjacent to Lake Altus for $51.58. Additional acreage has been added over the intervening years, bringing the total park area to 4,540 acres.
Construction began in 1936, with CCC labor building hiking trails picnic areas and boat ramps, finishing their work in 1940. That same year the Bureau of Reclamation, under the U.S. Department of the Interior, began reconstruction of Lugert Dam using Works Progress Administration (WPA) labor. The new, larger Altus-Lugert Lake enhanced the attractiveness of the park. Because the primary purpose of the dam and lake is for irrigation, park visitors have often found water levels in the lake disappointingly low.
A park lodge, constructed in the 1960s, was totally destroyed by fire in 1995. In 1978 the resort became the home of the Summer Arts Institute, where students between the ages of fourteen and eighteen study with well-known Oklahoma artists. The State of Oklahoma spent seventeen million dollars to build a new Resort and Arts Conference Center, which opened on March 8, 2001. In 2002 the facility became an asset of the Oklahoma Board of Regents for Higher Education and was renamed Quartz Mountain Nature Park. It lies at the end of State Highway 44A, approximately nine miles southwest of Lone Wolf, Oklahoma.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Final Survey Report, Intensive-Level Survey of New Deal-Era State Parks in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, 1993). Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 27 October 2003 and 2 November 2003.
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