Echota Village and RV Park opens for business
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
TAHLEQUAH – The public is now invited to bring their recreational vehicles and spend the weekend either camping or floating along the Illinois River at the tribe’s newest business venture, the Echota Village and RV Park.
“We are so excited to be open. We want to give guests an experience here,” said Randall Hendricks, director for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians Corporate Board.
The park is an operation of the Corporate Board and officially opened May 24. It features 16 RV slips with 30-amp hookups that are open for reservation, as well as a primitive camping area.
“Every RV site has a 30-amp hookup and water hookups. We have a centrally located dump station on the way in or out to hook up their equipment to a dump station,” said Hendricks. “We will also have a few primitive camping spots just beyond the RV slips and about 29 picnic tables throughout the area.”
The park also features a floating operation for guests with parties of four or more who wish to enjoy the Illinois River.
“It’s going to cost $25 per person and each raft will have a four-person minimum,” said Hendricks. “We have 20 rafts. We’re not doing kayaks and canoes until next year. We have five extra licenses, so we might add five kayaks, but no canoes. We are open to do private shuttling and we’ll take them to the access point.”
The park also features a convenience store where floaters can buy day passes, as well as snacks, beer and Keetoowah cultural items and gifts.
“In addition to our other activities, we also want the park to be a cultural center so people can come and see who the Keetoowahs are, where we come from,” said Hendricks. “Ideally every weekend we want to have a cultural presenter on the grounds that they could show their craft, such as bow making, basket weaving. We can change it every weekend.”
Hendricks said the Corporate Board is also exploring the idea of inviting different craft and food vendors to the park to help make it a full family experience.
“We want to be more family oriented. We are looking at having vendors and booth spaces, that way we can give the RV visitors and the general public something different they can be involved in,” he said.
The park was originally approved in April 2018 under Resolution 18-UKBCB-1 and set for a September 2018 opening, but construction delays pushed the timeline back to the 2019 summer season.
“We had a lot of repairs. This building is an old building. It’s been vacant for a while,” said Hendricks. “We’ve had to repair the roof, some windowsills, a lot of plumbing and some electric and sort of finishing items like that. Because of that, we ran past the season date and I didn’t think it was feasible to start up in the middle or towards the end of the season. With that, we decided to wait until now to get it going and capture the full season.”
The Echota Village and RV Park is located at 16315 Hwy 10 in Tahlequah across from Falcon Floats. It is open Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by reservation only Monday through Thursday.
For more information about RV rates or to book your reservation, visit www.echotavillagerv.com.