At one time, the point of land overlooking Lake Eufaula’s north shore gleamed with the lights of Fountainhead Lodge.fountainhead09
Over the years, those lights dimmed and finally were extinguished as the lodge fell onto hard times.
Now the land could become a tourist beacon again after the property has been placed into trust with the Creek Nation.
Officials from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Secretary of Interior have transferred 45.58 acres of land earlier this month. That joins with another 18,38 acres put into trust two years ago.
In 2005 the Creek Nation bought the entire 62 acres from the Corps of Engineers and work has been going on to get the land into the trust status.
Creek Nation Principal Chief James Floyd said the property can now be developed into a tourist destination. The Creek Nation leases the Fountainhead Golf Course from the Corps.
Plans call for the MCN to develop the resort area to include gaming, entertainment and restaurants.
Fountainhead Lodge had been one of the state parks’ premiere attractions when it was built in 19675. It and its sister lodge, Arrowhead, both were turned back over to the federal government in the 1980s after the state was unable to pay off the original loan.
The Choctaw Nation bought Arrowhead and Fountainhead was sold to a private investment group. The investment group defaulted on their loan in 2003 and Fountainhead closed in 2004.
A year later, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation purchased the lodge. The fixtures and furniture were sold at auction then the building was torn down.
Floyd said the timing of signing the deed could not be better and expects the development to bring economic benefits to the area.
“When we look at McIntosh County, it has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state,” Floyd said. “Governor Fallin recently signed legislation creating Opportunity Zones and McIntosh County is an Opportunity Zone and so the Fountainhead property falls right in. The benefit of this is that developers take tax benefits from it and can get incentives to develop their properties so it works in our favor.”
Floyd said there is also an opportunity to take over the nearly 5,000 acres of the Fountainhead State Park from the State of Oklahoma, which would allow the Nation to manage the park property.
“We have the state park property that could allow us to put on display our culture and make it an attraction for people,” Floyd said. “Biking, walking and jogging trails, camping; those types of outdoor activities. We want to attract them to that area as a destination to increase tourism in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in that area.”