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IMG 7254  Visitors to Nichols Park often forget that nearly half of the park is nearly unreachable.
When the Indian Nation Turnpike opened in 1966, over 250 acres of land was separated by the four-lane highway.
Access was only available by hikers, riders on horseback or with an off-road vehicle that could go through the concrete drainage tunnel running under the turnpike.
 Not that there is much to see once a person gets to the other side of the highway. The hilly, tree-covered landscape has no amenities, no picnic tables or cookout facilities.
Horse trails are barely evident as well as the clearing made for roads to nowhere that were carved out some 70-plus years ago.
 Because the area is so secluded and offers so little use, the idea of making it available exclusively for off-road vehicles is being kicked around.
Wednesday a delegation of city officials, council member and park board members spent an hour looking at the land.
The explosion in popularity of four-wheel recreational vehicles started some 10 years ago. Many of those vehicles can be seen around Henryetta and are often trailered to sites 25, 50 and even 100 miles away for owners to enjoy riding.
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Arley Gray, one of those four-wheel enthusiasts said using the east side of the park could result in many of those riders coming to Henryetta.
Some more work would have to be done to get the various trails in place but Gray said there are enough cleared areas that could be coupled with the existing horse trails to provide enjoyment for all ages.
City manager Ted Graham pointed out the east side of the park is only a couple of miles away from Jim Hall Lake. The city is investigating if easements could be obtained to allow riders and even hikers with a path between both lake areas.
A trailhead would have to be established along with proper signage and trails marked out for the four-wheel use.
Council members would have to sign off on the project.