Another successful tour season

Power for Progress… a weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority.

Wrapping up the 2018 tour season … With the 2018 Labor Day weekend behind us, the free daily tours of Pensacola Dam powerhouse have ended for another year. As GRDA tour guides put the wraps on another successful season, they are sharing some numbers from this summer.

This summer, they came from all over the country and even the world to see one of Oklahoma’s first engineering marvels. However, that is really nothing new, because for several years now, people have been visiting Langley to take part in the free tours of the Grand River Dam Authority’s Pensacola Dam.

Now, with the 2018 Labor Day weekend behind us, the free daily tours of the dam have ended for another year. So, as the GRDA tour guides put the wraps on another successful season, they are sharing some numbers that tell the story of the 2018 dam tours.

Residents of 45 Oklahoma counties, 35 different states (plus Washington, D.C.) and nine different countries came to Langley this summer to see Oklahoma’s first hydroelectric facility first-hand. Altogether, approximately 4,000 people toured the dam, divided into 538 different tours. In fact, GRDA welcomed nearly 700 more visitors in 2018 than it did in 2017.

Meanwhile, GRDA continues to support Oklahoma education by hosting several schools groups each year at the dam. Over the course of the last school year, 24 different school groups, ranging in age from elementary students to college students studying electrical engineering, also passed through the Pensacola Dam.

What’s the real significance of all these tours? They do help GRDA fulfill an important part of its overall mission: “to assist in area economic development.” After all, when visitors come to the dam – and begin their tours at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center – they not only learn about hydroelectricity, but also about the lake region, and the wonderful recreation and tourism opportunities that exist across the area. While many of those visitors may come to the region frequently, many others could have experienced the area for the first time but are already planning a return trip. That is good for the region and good for Oklahoma.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: employees, electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, and efficiency.