Miami – Two years ago, a partnership between the Grand River Dam Authority and the Mid-America Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) resulted in increased hunting opportunities for PVA members. Today, a new agreement will result in even more opportunities.
In 2014, GRDA first made some of its Ottawa County property (along the Neosho River) available to the PVA for the group’s annual “Great American Deer Hunt” for disabled veterans, which was hosted in cooperation with the River Bottom Sportsmen Club, the City of Miami, and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. That event had taken place on adjacent property since 2008 but the addition of GRDA lands allowed the PVA the room to accommodate more hunters. Last month, the GRDA Board of Directors gave its approval to a new lease between the organizations that will open up even more property and extend those opportunities throughout the hunting season. Outside the “Great American Deer Hunt” (which takes place October 28 -30) GRDA will also devote 625 acres for PVA to use during deer, waterfowl, and turkey season.
“These annual hunts have been very successful,” said GRDA Neosho River Bottoms Director Aaron Roper. “We’re happy to be a part of providing a wider range of outdoor opportunities to PVA members.”
Over 40 veterans with spinal cord injuries have had the opportunity to participate in the hunt since it first started in 2008. And, with the help of its major partners and many other private contributors, MAPVA is able to provide the visiting hunters not only with the opportunity but also the gear, lodging and meals needed as they make the trip as PVA’s guests.
“Hunting opportunities for people with mobility impairments are very limited and public lands offer limited access for the disabled, said Mid-America PVA Chapter President Bill Kokendoffer. “When GRDA and MAPVA came to this agreement it opened new doors for our outdoor enthusiast. It offers a place where these disabled hunters can go and not be hindered by other hunters taking the prime spots.”
Kokendoffer added that limiting the access to no more than four hunters per hunt also gives the participants a better chance of success. “We’re looking forward to many years of successful hunts on this property,” he said.
The opportunity to contribute to the future successes of the annual “Great Deer Hunt” is another way for GRDA to meet its multi-faceted mission in Oklahoma. Earlier this summer, the Authority also announced a lease agreement with Miami’s Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College which will help expand agricultural education opportunities. The $1/year agreement allows the college to lease approximately 1,600 acres of GRDA lands, also along the Neosho River. Some of that property will be subleased by NEO to area pecan producers and ranchers. Other property will be used for an outdoor, hands-on agricultural classroom.
“We’re looking forward to continuing our work with PVA and other partners in the Neosho Bottoms,” added Roper.
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: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.